Northern Ireland

Carrick to host ceremony marking formation of US Rangers unit in WW2

The US Rangers Museum in Carrick remembers the unit's Irish origins during World War II.
The US Rangers Museum in Carrick remembers the unit's Irish origins during World War II.

A COMMEMORATION event is to take place in Carrickfergus next year to honour the only United States military unit to be formed on foreign soil.

The 1st Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment was formed in 1942 at the US army's Sunnylands base camp in Carrick, which was one of several bases in the north home to a share of over 300,000 American troops during World War II.

The formation came as US military leaders envisioned an elite unit of soldiers similar to the British Commandos, which were operational from 1940 until their disbandment in 1946.

The US 75th Ranger Regiment, now known as the Army Rangers, are headquartered in the state of Georgia but, a memorial stone stands in Carrick to mark where they were formed.

Carrick is also home to the United States Rangers Museum, located alongside the Andrew Jackson cottage, where the parents of the seventh US president lived shortly before emigrating to South Carolina.

After forming in 1942, the unit took part in the Dieppe Raid in Nazi-occupied northern France, becoming the first American troops to see combat in Europe during the war.

In August of this year, Mid and East Antrim mayor Beth Adger attended the unveiling of a memorial in Dieppe to the Rangers.

Now Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has agreed to host a ceremony next year at the Sunnylands memorial as part of a programme of events to showcase local heritage.

A report to the council this week stated: "The visit to Dieppe afforded great networking opportunities where contact was made with a number of dignitaries, military personnel and other associated organisations and prominent individuals, all of whom are very interested in visiting Carrickfergus as the birthplace of the US Rangers."