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"When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, 
For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

8th Belfast H.A.A. Regt.

aka   'The Twelve Mile Snipers'
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The Men

Sergeant William Adrain - Diary and Biography

D. J. Bailie - War Diary and Photographs

Colonel Wm. N. Brann

Sgt. Thomas Herbert Coulter (Herbie)

Jimmy Cunningham's Private Army Comes Home

L/Sgt. Bertie Goodwin

Gunner Harry Grist

2/Lt. William George Hales

Gunner Herbert Hanley

Ken Heath

Bdr. William (Buttons) Hunter

Irvine Brothers 23rd Battery

Bdr. J. C. Irvine 23rd Battery

Bdr. Thomas Henderson Kane

Tommy and Albert Kinnon 21st and 23rd Bty.

 Gnr. Jim Lennon's War Records - Photos

Sgt. Joseph Harold Lynn (aka Harry-Joe)

Matchett Brothers 23rd Battery

L/Bdr. Harry Joseph Mawhinney 22nd Battery

Gunner Thomas Mercer 21st Battery

 Jimmy McKittrick

Bdr. Thomas McLaughlin

Colonel Harry Porter

Sgt. Billy Wilson 23rd Battery

Sidney Ernest Wright - Diary & Photographs


N-O-K- Dec'd Personnel 21/22/23 Hy.A.A.

Posted/Repatriated from 23 Hy.A.A.

List of Additional Soldiers

List of names, no addresses 23rd Bty.

Memorial Service Book (list of names) B Troop

22nd Bty. Memorial Brochure  names, addresses

23rd Bty. Memorial Brochure  names, addresses

RHQ/REME Memorial Brochure, addresses

Nominal Roll 21st Bty. all ranks

Nominal Roll 22nd Bty. all ranks

Nominal Roll 23rd Bty. all ranks

8th Belfast HAA Nominal Roll 21st Battery

8th Belfast HAA Nominal Roll 22nd Battery

8th Belfast HAA Nominal Roll 23rd Battery

Alterations & Additions to Nom. Rolls 23rd

RHQ / REME Nominal Rolls







Newspaper Clippings

Assorted Clippings 1

Assorted Clippings 2


SEAC March 1944



Sport & Small Groups

8th Belfast Band

Individuals & Friends

Large Group Pictures

Donated Photos

8th Belfast Band items

Documents  *  Items


Old Comrades Section

Burma Star Luncheon 2009

St. Annes and Lansdowne Court Hotel Laying-up of Burma Star Standard 3rd October 2010



Obituaries  *  Memorials  Changi Prison Chapel

8th Belfast HAA History
by Colonel Murray Barnes, OBE , TD.

A short History of The 8th (Belfast) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery (Supplementary Reserve)
by Harry Porter


Dean Houston McKelvey's Sermon
3rd October 2010

Extract from Coralie Kinahan's book
'Behind Every Great Man'
"Robin's War"


Video Page

Harry Porters film of the Twelve Mile Snipers
(in 3 parts)

Burma Star Luncheon

The Last Parade

and more....


other WW2 stories

Cpl. William F. Davison

Belfast Telegraph Tuesday June, 6, 1944 Invasion


Jimmy Cunningham                                                      Mrs. Cunningham., Sam and Anna                                                             Roland               

"Jimmy Cunningham's Private Army" Comes Home

     A MESSAGE OF GREETING from the staff of the "Northern Whig" to Lieut.-Colonel James G. Cunningham.  "Welcome Home" to the Commander of the 8th (Belfast) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment.  During the past six years we have watched with the closest personal interest the achievements of your famous Regiment.

     First in France.  We waited anxiously for news when the Germans forced the Allied retreat in 1940.  When that news came it was with admiration we learned that you and your men had succeeded in saving your guns - a remarkable feat in a situation of unparalleled difficulty.

     Next in London.  That men from Belfast and other parts of the Imperial Province should have helped to defend the capital of the Empire in its darkest days made us very proud.

     Then in India and Burma.  The great service of the Regiment there and its fine spirit won for it the affectionate title of "Jimmy Cunningham's private army" - a tribute to the cordial relations existing between Commander and men.  The announcement of your O.B.E. award in February this year was nowhere received with more joy than in this office.  The citation said the award had been made for "gallant and distinguished services in Burma and on the eastern frontier of India."

     We have no doubt you regarded the award not only an honour to yourself, but an acknowledgment of the splendid efforts of those you had been appointed to lead.

     And  now  Home !  We pray that your reunion with your family will be permanent, and we hope that you will soon resume your duties as head of the "Northern Whig" family.   Good Luck !    Well Done !

The Stirling Castle photographed as she docked at Liverpool carrying among 3,500 troops, her precious "cargo" of Belfastmen


     The men of the 8th Belfast, who had sailed for Burma in May, 1942, came back to Britain this month. They arrived at Liverpool on Monday night, September 10?, in the Union Castle Liner, Stirling Castle. The first leave party, 13 officers and 310 other ranks, reached Belfast on September 15. They had travelled via Stranraer and the Prime Minister (Sir Basil Brooke) and the Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast (Alderman Hinds) went specially, with others, to Larne to greet them.
     Sir Basil addressed the men from the ship's bridge and read a message from the Governor.  Thousands were at the L.M.S. Station when the special train from Larne steamed into Belfast and the men of the "8th" were literally beseiged.

They get their first glimpse of the Antrim Hills

     Standing on the ship's bridge the Prime Minister read the following message from the Governor:-
          "On behalf of the people of Northern Ireland I bid you a most cordial welcome upon your return home.  I regret extremely that it is not possible for me to welcome you in person as I am at the moment engaged in ceremonies in connexion with the visit of Field-Marshall Sir Bernard Montgomery.
          "I am particularly glad to welcome the return from Burma of an Anti-Aircraft Regiment, as I am Honorary Colonel of the 15th Light A.-A. Regiment.

          "I trust you will enjoy your leave and that before long you will be enabled to return home permanently to join your families."

The Office Roll of Honour

     Following is the "Northern Whig" Roll of Honour.  The departments are listed in alphabetical order.

MANAGING DIRECTOR - Lt. Col. James G. Cunningham.
          Joined Territorials 1939. Called up with 8th Belfast Heavy A.-A. Regiment on outbreak of war. Rose from Lieutenant to present rank. Appointed Commander of Regiment last year and awarded O.B.E. in February 1945, for distinguished services. Served France, England, India and Burma.

ADVERTISING - Sergt. Observer Ernest Watson
          Joined R.A.F. 1939?. Drafted to Bomber Command on completion of training. Killed when plane crashed on return from operations over Germany.  He died as he lived - a gallant young gentleman.

CREED ROOM - Bombardier Eric Cornett
          Joined Army, April 1941. Drafted to an A.-A. Regiment. Went to France on "D" Day. Served all through campaign in Netherlands.
Sergeant Eric Traub
          Joined R.A.F. Went overseas May 1945

EDITORIAL - Ronald Blackburn
          Volunteered and attached to intelligence division. Foreign Office
Flt. Sgt. Kenneth Galloway/Calloway
          Joined R.A.F. in 1943. Sent to South Africa for training. Now attached ? Fighter Squadron S.E.A.C.
Bombardier H. C. McDowell
          Joined Royal Ulster Rifles at outbreak of war. Later transferred to Artillery. Took part in Italian Campaign. Further details of service not to hand
Sub-Lieut. Wilfred McNeilly
          O.T.C. reservist. Called up for service with 2nd Lothians and Border Horse and commissioned as Second Lieutenant. Transferred to Royal Indian Navy and now Sub.Lieutenant

JOBBING ROOM - B.S.M. Robert Adrain
          Joined Territorials 1939. Called up with 8th (Belfast) Heavy A.-A. Regiment on outbreak of war. Promoted Sergeant and in 19?? became Battery Sergeant-Major. Served France, England, India and Burma

NEWS ROOM - Leading Seaman Stanley Gordon
          Joined Royal Navy, 1940. Demobbed recently after service in all parts of World. Commended in November 1940, for brave conduct in action against the enemy. Served in Irish Guards, 1920 - 32?
L.A.C. James McKinley
Joined R.A.F. 1942. Drafted to Middle East and took part in advance from El Alamein. Served also in Syria, Italy and Greece. Recently home on leave. Now stationed in Cornwall
Aircraftman John McKinley
Joined R.A.F. in 19??. Drafted to Far East. In retreat from Malaya to Java, where he was taken prisoner early in 1942. Several postcards received by his parents indicated that he is in good spirits
James C. Wallace
Long war service in Royal Navy. Last heard of in Indian waters. Rank at present unknown

OFFICE STAFF - Gunner Bertie Dugan
          Joined Army, April 1941. Drafted in ??th Regiment R.A. Served through North African campaign from El Alamein and in invasion of Italy
                           - L/Bombardier William Cross
          Joined Territorials, 1939. Called up with 8th (Belfast) Heavy A.-A. Regiment on outbreak of war. Went to France, but sent back in 1940, being then under 19. West to France with another Regiment on "D" Day. Severely wounded in Rhine battle, April 1945