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Ballymena and Gibraltarian Links
Ballymena and Gibraltar Links PDF Print E-mail

BALLYMENA AND GIBRALTARIAN LINKS
COMING BACK TO BALLYMENA

Early in 2006 I received an enquiry to the Parish Website. It was from Elizabeth, the daughter of Angela (Sene) and Ernest Lara who were from Gibraltar. Angela and Ernest had been among the five thousand Gibraltarians who had been evacuated to various parts of Northern Ireland in 1944. They had lived in a camp outside Ballymena and were married in the area in 1945.

Elizabeth's dad Ernest had died but Elizabeth and her sister Eileen were thinking of bringing their mother, now eighty years old, to visit the various camps and was asking for information. I didn't have any so I began searching through the Parish Records and discovered that there had been twelve camps in Northern Ireland, eight of them in Co Antrim. I contacted the Local Museum and visited the Local Studies section of the local library to search old newspapers.

I discovered that in 1940 the population of Gibraltar, except for able bodied men, was evacuated by boat to the United Kingdom, Madeira, Jamiaca and French Morrocco. Families were divided with brothers and sisters being sent to different countries - some would never be reunited.

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Names of the Gibraltarian camps near Ballymena PDF Print E-mail

NAMES OF THE GIBRALTARIAN CAMPS NEAR BALLYMENA


They were:

Camp 5 TANNYBRAKE not far from Moorfields

Camp 6 MOORFIELDS

Camp 7 CASTLEGORE

Camp 8 DUNAIRD

Camp 9 DRUMMACK

Camp 10 AUGHACULLY

Camp 11 BREKAH (Breckagh)BRIDGE

Camp 12 CORBY BRIDGE, RATHKENNY


Four camps - Dunaird (8), Drummack (9), Aughacully (10) and Brekah (Breckagh)(11) were set up just outside Broughshane. In these camps two thousand men, women and children lived in Nissan huts.

I contacted thelocal museum to discover that plaques had been erected in 1998, by Ballymena Borough Council, at the site of each camp. Armed with my camera I set out for Broughshane and with some difficulty found and photographed the sites.

 


 
Directions to the Gibraltarian Camps outside Ballymena PDF Print E-mail

DIRECTIONS TO THE GIBRALTARIAN CAMPS OUTSIDE BALLYMENA

Take the A42 from Ballymena to Broughshane.

In Broughshane Village turn right at McNeill's Hardware shop.

Take the first road on your left at the Church with Lynch Gate

Pass the 30 mile sign

Houston's Mill will be on your left

Large grey house on your right

Yellow electricity sub station set back in a field on left

Orange topped pole

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Teaching in one of the Camps PDF Print E-mail

BALLYMENA AND GIBRALTARIAN LINKS

TEACHING IN ONE OF THE CAMPS


I found that a friend of my aunt had taught in one of these camps so I went to talk to her. She told me how the whole population of Gibraltar had been evacuated in 1940. Some went to Morocco, some to America, to England and to a number of camps in Northern Ireland - Antrim, Down and Derry.

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Chaplain for the Camps PDF Print E-mail

BALLYMENA AND GIBRALTARIAN LINKS

CHAPLAIN FOR THE CAMPS

Elizabeth told me that her parents, Angela (Sene) and Ernest Lara had lived in the Brekagh Bridge camp (11). They had been married in the Church of St Patrick, The Braid, Ballymena in April 1945 by Fr McHugh. I found that Fr McHugh - now Canon Dominic McHugh - was alive and well and ministering in Ballymoney.

I arranged to meet with him and hear his memories.

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