War plane crashes and D-Day on the Bann

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Banbridge Historical Society hopes to collect memories of life during the Second World War, with the possible view of producing a publication with Doreen McBride to edit it and help in the production.

The next meeting of Banbridge Historical Society will be held in the Old Town Hall on Thursday 1st February at 7 30pm. Visitors will be made very welcome.

The meeting, chaired by Joe Furphy, will consist of members of the Society talking about their memories of Banbridge. Joe himself was born and raised, went to school in and taught in Banbridge before joining the Civil Service and moving to Belfast. The Historical Society was delighted to welcome him back as their Chairman.

The following people have agreed to share their Banbridge memories - Ella Brown, Geoffrey Davidson, Jim McCartan, Jack Sneddon and Sean McIlroy.

Do you know that linen manufactured in Banbridge was used to cover spitfire planes during the second world war as it was better than metal because it was strong and bullets passed through it doing little damage.

A plane crashed on Ballymoney Hill in Mackey’s field? The pilot was killed but the Mackeys recovered his identity and an engagement ring they passed to his fiancée. The pilot’s surname was Gants and he was buried in Drumbeg.

American Expeditionary Forces who were stationed locally, practised for the D-Day landing on the River Bann. The Americans used to challenge local lads to boxing matches, one small local lad, Johnny McCourt, fancied himself as a champion boxer and accepting the challenge, got up into the ring waving his fists in the air when out came Goliath, the American champion! There was no contest after that!