World War II Relics
In the large beautiful landscaped gardens of Tubber House, Kircubbin up till a few years ago an underground World War II bunker was to be found. It was named ‘THE WAR HOUSE’, the former sector operations room which controlled Ballyhalbert airfield. This top-secret location was one of the most significant buildings in Northern Ireland. The war house was built specifically as a fighter base to combat the increasing incursion of German enemy planes. This operations room at Kircubbin would have been responsible for dispatching the Spitfires and Hurricanes stationed at Ballyhalbert. The WAAF plotters responsibility of calculating and confirming the position and identification of the enemy and friendly aircraft off the coast of Ulster was vital. It is of the opinion of many of the ex-Royal Air Force personnel that ‘The War House’s’ contribution to the defense of the realm in the 2nd World War was never fully recognised.
Built-in 1943 near Limavady, a semi-circle dome for aircraft gunners. Inside would sit an aircraft gunner at a pretend gun and on the ceiling of this dome, they would project a film of a silhouette of aircraft, electronically they could work out whether they had hit their target. One could call it an old-fashioned computer game and it’s the only one still in existence in the country.
The wreck remains of a Corsair, a coastal air fighter that belonged to 1843 Squadron based at nearby RNAS Eglinton, Co.Derry in the latter stages of World War II. The squadron was formed in May 1944 at an airbase in Brumswick in the State of Maine close by a small town called Belfast. The Corsair was probably the most successful naval fighters to be involved the World War Two, with twelve and half thousand built, it was in production longer than any other U.S. fighter of the time [1942-52]. This little aircraft was credited with an 11.1 ratio of kills to losses in action against Japanese aircraft and was one of the last piston-engine fighters in production for the U.S. and Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. The Corsair JT 693 ditched on mud-flats on October 9th, 1944, after the plane’s engine failed and caught fire. The pilot Sub Lt.C.H.Schwenger RCN was rescued unhurt.
No attempt has ever been made to salvage the aircraft [except the engine] because the nature of the mudflats makes it impossible. The Corsair is covered by the incoming tide daily and is steadily rotting away. The wreck can be seen on the mudflats of Lough Foyle at very low tide, just 200 yards from the main runway at Ballykelly aerodrome. 2,000 aircraft were written off as a result of incidents during the war. The North coast received a greater proportion of crashes than other parts of the province due to the concentration of airfields in the Lough Foyle area.
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