On the west side of the road. Monument
A rectangular, four-sided, flat top obelisk which the names of 148 American servicemen were inscribed. Two semi-circle benches are placed on both sides of the monument and a flag pole behind. A nearby info sign was erected in 2005 providing a lasting reminder of the site’s history.
On 9th December 1941, the US Army Special Observer Group requested ground in the UK. They required the land for the emergency burial of troops who died overseas. The War Office in London granted their request. Soon, the cities of Belfast and Londonderry both held American Military Cemeteries.
Members of the US Navy became the first American servicemen interred in Northern Ireland. Those first men died as a result of an accident at a nearby American Navy base. The original burial ground for US troops in Belfast was a 1/6th of an acre plot in Belfast City Cemetery. This was in use from 12th March 1942 until 7th October 1942 by which time it had already reached capacity.
Their remains were transferred to the Lisnabreeny American cemetery when the it was opened in December 1943 and it became the only burial place for American military personnel in Ireland.
In 1948, the US Government exhumed and repatriated all men buried at Lisnabreeny. Reburial took place in each man’s hometown or at the American Cemetery in Cambridge, UK. The site closed down and the US military decommissioned Lisnabreeny later the same year.
Although most men at Lisnabreeny came from the US Air Force, there were also men from the Army and Navy. The causes of death ranged from aviation accidents to training casualties. Some even died in road traffic collisions or of natural causes.
Source of information: https://wartimeni.com
Source of phots: Imperial War Museum War Memorials Register, Google maps, www.militaryimages.net
On the front of the obelisk:
FORMER AMERICAN MILITARY CEMETERY
(Listed on the 3 remaining sides of the obelisk are the names of the Americans who were buried in the former cemetery.)
Plaques on the left and right posts:
US Forces in Northern Ireland
This site was once the resting place of 148 American servicemen who died in Northern Ireland during World War II.
American troops were first deployed in Northern Ireland in January 1942. The number of US personnel stationed in the region reached a peak of 120,000 in June 1944, and around 300,000 US personnel were stationed or had passed through by the time the war ended in 1945.
The cemetery was opened in December 1943. Before this time, American troops who died on duty in Northern Ireland were buried in cemeteries in Belfast and Derry-Londonderry. Their remains were transferred to Lisnabreeny when the cemetery opened, and it became the only burial place for American military personnel in Ireland.
Above: First American troops arriving in Belfast, 1942 (INF/78/8/25)
Deputy Keeper of Records, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
World War II in Castlereagh
Gilnahrik Wirless Station was located three miles away from here on Mann's Road. This listening station was used during World War II to intercept radio messages from German spies based in the United Kingdom.
Honouring the dead
Between 1943 and 1945, 148 servicemen, including eight whose identities remain unknown, were buried here. The dead included members of the US Army and Navy, but most were members of the Air Forces. They had died from natural causes, in road traffic accidents or during training, and about 40 men died in air accidents.
The cemetery closed in 1948, and the remains of those who were not repatriated to the US at their families' request now lie in Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, England.
In October 1943, five servicemen, all qualified embalmers, were employed by the US Military Graves Registration (Northern Ireland) to manage the Cemetery. They were billeted at the old Belfast City Hospital. There was a Nissen-type but on the site to store equipment and records, and they used the facilities of a local funeral home.
Above: The graveyard was staffed by military embalmers. (L-R) 1st Sergeant Frank Miner, Senior Sergeant Gustav Becker, Captain Joseph Desmond, Sergeant Charles Lynch, Master Sergeant Charles Connor.
A place of rest
The cemetery grounds were carefully maintained. The graves were laid out in neat rows of 25. A whitewashed driveway lined with cherry trees led from the red-bricked entrance to the grave plots. There was a flagstaff at the end of the drive, and the American flag was raised every morning to a bugle fanfare.
Above The funeral of Private Steve Fellin at Lisnabreeny, who died on 3 May 1944.
Above An aerial view of Lisnabreeny in the 1940s, showing the cemetery in the lower field with a road leading to the British Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA) battery, across Rocky Road at the top. The Nissen huts which housed the AAA crews and their support personnel are at the top left.
United States Air Force
United States Army
United States Navy
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