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Frontline Ulster Blog

The blog is a series of short posts and images highlighting sites or facts that do not yet have a long-form article written about them. If there’s anything you’d like to see featured here please get in touch and I’ll add your news item.

  • Coast Artillery – Searchlight Types
    In a memo dated 7 December 1941 from the Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces, he defines the two roles that coast artillery searchlights (C.A.S.L.) fulfil. Each role was provided with a different type of light. These are: Observation lights This type of light was provided to detect hostile vessels. They could have… Read More »Coast Artillery – Searchlight Types
  • A gentle introduction to pillboxes (Video)
    Public knowledge and understanding of Second World War British pillboxes is often incomplete. Constructed in their thousands after the withdrawal from Dunkirk, their effective widespread usefulness endured only for a few months, but 8 decades later they are sometimes all that remains of a vast defensive network. In this first… Read More »A gentle introduction to pillboxes (Video)
  • The Irishman
    An Irishman, employed on the underground fuel-storage tanks at Scapa, was accustomed, when in drink, to express I.R.A. sentiments of considerable violence, and investigations show that the Birmingham Police already suspected him of having organised a bomb outrage. This was alarming, for his work at Scapa gave him access to… Read More »The Irishman
  • Everite Bigsix
    The latter part of 2023 involved two discrete activities; I was doing some research on prefabricated Second World War accommodation structures, and I also spent a week in Cornwall. I was pleasantly surprised when one evening these two events coincided. While wandering the shell of what I identified as an… Read More »Everite Bigsix
  • 2023 Review
    Happy New Year! On the face of it, 2023 was an uneventful year, and it seemed to pass in record time. But a review of Flickr and YouTube reminds me just how much I was lucky enough to see. In my unguided, directionless quest to tour relics of Empire and… Read More »2023 Review
  • Saxa Vord video success!
    On 21 July I published a video documenting the current state of the operations site at the old RAF Saxa Vord radar station. Within the first 3 weeks, the video has attracted 24,000 views and gained my channel over 500 new subscribers. What has been most heartening has been the… Read More »Saxa Vord video success!
  • A Ranger’s mark in Gibraltar
    Deep in a cavern along the Northern Defences in Gibraltar is an unassuming piece of graffiti. Written in pencil, and dated 1968, a soldier named McCULLOUGH left his name and regiment indelibly on the Gibraltar rock. The regiment was the Royal Ulster Rifles. The date is significant, because not long… Read More »A Ranger’s mark in Gibraltar
  • Anti-landing obstacles at Magilligan
    Those of us with a passing interest in Northern Irish military history might be aware of the anti-landing poles along Murlough Beach, County Down. Now a shadow of their former selves, they would have likely been connected by wire entanglement, and an assortment of other irksome obstacles preventing or hindering… Read More »Anti-landing obstacles at Magilligan
  • Cypriot Internment of the 1950s
    The detention camp at Kokkinotrimithia, 2km west of the Cypriot capitol of Nicosia, was constructed by British Forces in 1955 for the internment of supporters of the armed struggle to liberate the country from British governance. The camp housed both those convicted of fighting for the EOKA (Ethniki Organosis Kyprion… Read More »Cypriot Internment of the 1950s
  • Lenan Head Fort
    Situated on a rocky headland, Lenan Head Fort (sometimes spelt Leenan) is a British built coastal artillery battery from the late 19th Century. Standing isolated for over 120 years, the Victorian site was only in use for less than 40 years, but stood proudly on the cusp of the Atlantic… Read More »Lenan Head Fort
  • Rosscorr Viaduct
    Rosscorr Viaduct in Fermanagh was constructed in 1922 out of precast concrete, but was blown up 50 years later, but not as a result of terrorist action. The damaged portion of the roadway was demolished by the Royal Engineers in the 1970s to prevent the route being used as an… Read More »Rosscorr Viaduct
  • Collecting the Antrim Artillery
    Formed in 1853, the Antrim Artillery was a volunteer artillery unit based in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Despite being disbanded in 1919, they served in the Boer War and during the First World War manned the forts at Kilroot and Grey Point, defending Belfast Lough. I’ve been a collector of militaria… Read More »Collecting the Antrim Artillery
  • A history of Strangford Division of the Coast Guard
    In the middle of 2022 I was contacted by a member of the Inverbrena Local History group in relation to my Guarding the Coast article. They were keen to use some of my research and images in their book on the history of the Strangford Division of the Coast Guard.… Read More »A history of Strangford Division of the Coast Guard
  • Grey Point Fort
    I purchased the DJI Mini 3 Pro in the autumn of 2022 and it has impressed me every time I take off. I managed to snap this shot of Grey Point Fort as the sun was setting on a cold, damp late December evening. The Fort itself has been closed… Read More »Grey Point Fort
  • Orlock Port War Signal Station
    Marked on a map of the Belfast Lough defences from the early 20th Century, Orlock Port War Signal Station (PWSS) would have acted as the gatekeeper for shipping wishing to enter the Lough and sail onward to Belfast. During peacetime the PWSS was staffed by men from the Coastguard, Donaghadee… Read More »Orlock Port War Signal Station
  • A visit to the National Archives
    As an aspiring historian, perhaps more of an enthusiastic amateur, I appreciate that nothing can beat information from a primary source. The National Archives, at Kew outside London, is the national repository for official documents. The value can’t be understated; war department maps and plans, war diaries from frontline fighting… Read More »A visit to the National Archives

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