Northern Ireland news

New walking tours to explore rich and varied World War II history of Carrickfergus

Retired civil servant Adrian Hack is to lead new walking tours which will explore the rich and varied World War II history of Carrickfergus
Marie Louise McConville

THE rich and varied history of the Second World War is to become more accessible through a new walking tour.

The Lead The Way tours in Carrickfergus will be led by Adrian Hack, a 57-year-old retired civil servant.

Those taking part will learn how a linen factory was converted to make parachutes, how the iconic US Rangers regiment was formed, and the role the town had in sheltering refugees from the Belfast Blitz.

The tour name is taken from the motto 'Rangers Lead the Way'.

Over the course of just more than one mile, Adrian will take participants through air raid precautions, the tank factory, the local Ulster Home Guard, the creation of the US Rangers, the formation of a new post-war Belgian army, and the racial segregation of the American military at that time.

"While everyone knows Carrick Castle, not everyone is aware of the vital role the town played during the war," he said.

"It was home to the US Rangers, one of the key regiments on D-Day, storming 100ft cliffs to seize the Pointe De Hoc battery and all that began in Carrickfergus."

Adrian began to research the town's history after he took early retirement.

"I remember on my 55th birthday, thinking, `I am now one day older than my dad ever got to be' and how fortunate I was'," he said.

"That's when the interest in finding out about my father's life kicked in. That led me then into finding out a bit more about the town itself where he grew up, and the history then of the Second World War in the town, that I didn't know about.

"I lived a hundred yards away from the site of a major tank factory. I didn't know it was there."

Adrian added: "Last year we celebrated the 75th Anniversary of VE Day and interest in World War II has never been higher. So much history is in the bricks and streets around us that we simply haven't been aware of.

"I hope that this tour will lift the veil and show the memories of our friends and families are entwined in our common history and ensure the efforts of those who lived through the Second World War endure, and are acknowledged by future generations."

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