Defence Heritage Record

The following Historic Environment Division datasets are available for download. The dataset is supplied for use under an Open Government Licence (OGL) and has been converted and hosted by Frontline Ulster.

You can view the DHR live on Google Maps (and save it to your maps) here.

The dataset is dated August 2022 and can be downloaded directly from the Department for Communities Digital Datasets webpage.

Updates or queries should be directed to although I am more than happy to answer any questions that I can if you use the contact form from the main menu above.

British Troops Northern Ireland Defence Scheme of the Ards Peninsula

This document has been converted from an original copy of file S/124/4G held under WO 199/2935 in the National Archives at Kew. The once highly classified document was closed until 1972. While it appears there were no intentions to undertake the formal construction of any of the defensive works in 1942, this work was placed on one month’s notice if the threat of invasion developed. An interesting note was made attached to the document which encouraged the preparation of the defences through the course of unit training, remaining under the direction of NID. No references to the ARDS defence scheme were to be made during construction and primary importance to concealment from the ground and air was placed on all works at the time.

The plans were so highly classified copies could only be distributed by hand carried by Officers. Records indicate only 12 copies of this document were printed, with this copy being Number 1, issued to the Northern Ireland District (NID).

The object of preparing and occupying the ARDS Position was two-fold.

  1. In the event of greatly superior enemy forces driving back our forces in Northern Ireland on Belfast, this vital centre will be defended to the last by its local garrison, reinforced by as many field force troops as can be used to advantage in its defence. If it appears that Belfast cannot be held, then the Ards peninsula affords a strong position where a garrison can hold out until reinforcements from England enable a counter-offensive to be launched.
  2. The ARDS position provides a rallying point for troops not required for the defence of Belfast and for garrisons, such as the RAF Regiment if and when they have been withdrawn from their original tasks.

Keeping the Peace (Duties in support of the Civil Power) 1957

The response of the British Army to events in Northern Ireland has come under much scrutiny over the years. As historians, many decades later, I think it is important that in some situations we push hindsight to one side and attempt as far as possible to step into the boots of the soldiers at the time. One effective way to do this is to understand the doctrine and training practices of the time, and this can be achieved through contemporary training manuals and pamphlets. In this 1957 training manual we can read about the doctrine and steps to be taken when responding in support of civil powers. I believe this is the first time this publication has been made available for download.

The introduction of this original 1957 training manual reads:

“Both at home and in the British dependencies overseas, British armed forces must always be ready to comply at once with any request from the civil authorities for assistance in maintaining peace or in restoring law and order. Also, during a state of emergency, they may be called upon to assist in maintaining public or other services essential to the life of a community. 

The sole aim of military intervention to deal with general unrest is the restoration of law and order by military means when other methods have failed or appear certain to fail. This aim must be clear in the minds of commanders at all levels and there must be a readiness to cooperate closely with the civil authorities and police. These are requirements of the first importance.”

Military Engineering, Volume II – Field Engineering, Part II – All Arms, Pamphlet 3 Obstacles 1974

Published by the Ministry of Defence, 1st January 1974. This pamphlet supersedes Field Engineering and Mine Warfare Pamphlet No. 2A.


1. General considerations
2. Barbed wire and anti-personnel obstacles
3. Wiring methods
4. Anti-tank obstacles
5. Road Blocks
6. Urban counter-revolutionary obstacles
7. Obstacles under special conditions

Aim and scope of the pamphlet

This pamphlet deals mainly with obstacles which can be constructed by all arms, without engineer help beyond the supply of engineer stores where required.

Air-Raid Shelters, Leaflet No. 3

This short information booklet was issued in 1939 by the Cement and Concrete Association and consists of 24 high-resolution pages. It summarises the design and construction considerations for splinter-proof shelters for private houses and small buildings.

Raid Spotter’s Note Book

This is a digital scan of the Raid Spotter’s Note Book. This small leatherbound volume consisting of 76 pages was sold privately to be a “concise, accurate and informative compendium of information required by all interested in aircraft recognition and particular those concerned with Raid Spotting.” It contains a breadth of information on Second World War aircraft, both allied and enemy, including sillouhettes of all aircraft and the actions to be taken in the event of an air raid.

War Gases

An early Second World War Air Raid Precautions (ARP) information wheel providing information on the variety of war gases that could have been expected to be released against the British population.

You can download a high-resolution JPG copy of this collage showing all possible selections on the wheel. There are no known copyright restrictions with this image. Free for non-commercial use. Please credit Frontline Ulster when using this image.

RAF Pocklington, HFDF Station Diary

This incredible document was scanned and sent to Frontline Ulster by Mr. G Harris who inherited the diary from his dad who worked at the station and is photographed at the site. Geoff has kindly given me permission to reproduce the diary on this site, and I have made it available for the wider historic community to view.

The diary is contained within a Signal Office Diary, Book 5, and covers the dates between 24/09/1944 to 19/01/1945. Many of the requests come from friendly aircraft seeking to get a fix on their location. The station operated three shifts daily, over a 24 hour period.

For more information on early Second World War aircraft direction finding, you can read my two articles on understanding the HFDF system and locating the sites.

Frontline Ulster Map Project

This is the current map project KML file dated 22 January 2022 containing 1,089 markers covering pre-1900 fortifications through to those used during Operation Banner. The current version is displayed on the interactive page of this site.

This is a long term project and there are still some teething problems, I working through and error checking all the fields in the database as well as updating any images I may have. As such, consider this KML a beta version for development purposes. If you do download and load the file into a GIS package, let me know what you feel I could change or improve on.

You can convert this, or any, KML file into a CSV format for use in Excel by using a free placemark converter here (external link).