Maghaberry to pay tribute to war dead

editorial image

The important role that Maghaberry played during both World Wars will be marked with the unveiling of two commemmorative stones on the Village Green, next week.

A service to honour those who fought during the Wars and American Air Force personnel who were once based in the village will be held on Wednesday September 23 at 6.45pm.

It will be led by the Chairman of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s Corporate Services Committee, Alderman James Tinsley.

He described it as an honour to be asked to attend such an event.

“It is a privilege to acknowledge the important role Maghaberry played in the two World Wars,” Mr Tinsley said.

“The busiest period in Maghaberry’s history was World War Two when American fighter planes and Flying Fortress Bombers took off to provide support to the British and European Troops as they fought side by side in the battle against Germany.”

He went onto say that the stones will ensure that the memories of all those who sacrificed their lives for others didnot disappear into hisotry like the former Maghaberry airfield.

“As a conflict, World War Two cost many lives and we should remember those who fought bravely on land and in the air to secure the freedom we enjoy today,” he said.

The Maghaberry Prison site was an important location during World War Two.

Home to an airfield used by the Royal Air Force from January 1942 to build heavy RAF bomber planes; it then in 1943 saw the arrival of 200 US Army Air Force personnel, which used this airfield as their transit base for planes from America to refuel before flying on to wherever they were needed in Europe.

US Air Force mechanics also serviced aircraft at Maghaberry.

“I would like to encourage those who live within the Maghaberry area and veterans of either World War or who served in the US Air Force to come along and join us at the service.”

Light refreshments will be served after the event.

The commemorative stones were designed by artist Ross Wilson.

A wreath will also be laid by William Gilmore on behalf of the True Blues LOL 86. Malcolm Hill will also be in attendance.

The war memorial idea had been first suggested by Maghaberry True Blues LOL 86.

A spokesperson for LOL 86 said they were delighted with the support and help they have received from the council, its officers and in particualr councillors James Tinsley and Robbie Butler.