Ballyhalbert History

RAF BALLYHALBERT


When the Second World War broke out, there were 3 airfields in Northern Ireland.  Ballyhalbert was one of around 23 new sites chosen to be RAF Airfields.  One of the reasons for building airfields in Northern Ireland was a contingency plan that, in the event that Hitler invaded England, the RAF would fight the war from Northern Ireland.

Construction at Ballyhalbert began in 1940 and the Windmill Stump at Clydesburn was demolished during the process.  The airfield was officially opened on 28th June 1941.

Over the years Ballyhalbert saw service from RAF, WAAF and Royal Navy personnel.  Servicemen from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Amercia and Poland also saw duty at Ballyhalbert.  A short distance away from Ballyhalbert Airfield in two local Churchyards lie Canadian, Australian and Polish men who died whilst serving at Ballyhalbert.

One important event that happened during the lifetime of the airfield was on 19th May 1944 when General Eisenhower, Supreme Commander Allied Forces visited the station en route for RAF Bovington.  General Eisenhower later went on to become President of America in 1953.

 

 

ABOVE: The remains of the Control Tower of RAF Ballyhalbert in August 2002

 

Today part of the airfield site is used as a caravan park.  The rest of the site is slowly being lost due to housing developments being built on the airfield site.  It is hoped that the Control Tower will be preserved as a reminder of the important role that Ballyhalbert played during World War 2.