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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.
- 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.
- 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troops not required for the defence of Belfast and for garrisons, such as the RAF Regiment if and when they have been withdrawn from their original tasks.