Lisnabreeny American Temporary Military Cemetery

On 9 February 1942, 2 weeks after the United States Army forces arrived in Northern Ireland, G-4, USAFBI (United States Army Forces in the British Isles), made arrangements with the British to use portions of two cemeteries. One in Londonderry and one in Belfast. The Londonderry Cemetery was never used, but 17 burials had been made in the Belfast City Cemetery by August 1942. Because the Graves Registration Service was not satisfied with the plot, plans were set on foot to construct a cemetery at Lisnabreeny about 3 miles from Belfast.

The Commanding General of the Northern Ireland Base Section reported in September that the plans had been given to the engineers and that the cemetery would be ready in about 3 weeks. Nothing further was done for more than a year. On 21 October 1943, however the Lands Branch of the British War Office announced that the land could be made available on “12 hours’ notice”.

At the Moscow Conference in October the Chief Quartermaster stressed the need for an adequate cemetery in Northern Ireland, where several naval bases and air bases were located. Provision had to be made for the burial of seamen and of airman who had died of wounds recieved during raids over Germany. A cemetery was needed, too, for the bodies of men of the Merchant Marine whose ships were sunk or damaged in the treacherous waters of the North and Irish Seas. Furthermore, the ground force preinvasion maneuvers in Northern Ireland were not without fatalities. Deaths occured also in the ranks of service personnel stationed in the base section. Finally, the cemetery was needed because it was impracticable to transport bodies to Brookwood or Cambridge.

GPS location Lisnabreeny American Temporary Military Cemetery.

The Lisnabreeny cemetery would cover 10½ acres of pasture land then owned by a national trust company. The Lands Branch of the British War Office had already obtained burial rights for the United States forces. All final arrangements would be coordinated with the Quartermaster and the Engineer of the Northern Ireland Base Section. A group of American embalmers was already on duty in a civilian mortuary near the Belfast City Cemetery. This establishment had a capacity of only four cases per day, however, and additional facilities would have to be obtained, either by enlarging these premises or by building an army morgue at Lisnabreeny. The cemetery was officially opened on 2 December 1943.

On 1 September 1944 the United Kingdom Base had announced its intention to move bodies from Lisnabreeny to Cambridge. The Office of the Chief Quartermaster replied that Lisnabreeny would remain open as long as United States personnel was stationed in Northern Ireland, unless arrangements could be made with the United States Army Air Forces to fly bodies to Cambridge immediately after death. Although the Lisnabreeny cemetery was closed by Memorial Day 1945, no bodies were moved until Cambridge was named a permanent American cemetery. A total op 148 bodies were buried at Lisnabreeny before it was closed.

At this present day, the local council commissioned a granite monument, engraved with the names and ranks of all 148 servicemen who were once interred at the cemetery.

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