Derry WWII trails open

Private First Class Marine Joe Jones (local actor Kieran Griffiths) dances with Irish American Hollywood starlet Peggy Diggins ''(Rionach McGlinchey), sweetheart to the American Forces overseas. Accompanying them is their dance tutor Louise McElhinney.

Private First Class Marine Joe Jones (local actor Kieran Griffiths) dances with Irish American Hollywood starlet Peggy Diggins ''(Rionach McGlinchey), sweetheart to the American Forces overseas. Accompanying them is their dance tutor Louise McElhinney.

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A free family fun day exploring the remnants of a unique World War II Naval Base in Derry will take place next month.

The event will take place at the Beech Hill Hotel on the outskirts of the city on Sunday, October 7 from to 2pm to 5pm as part of National Trails Day.

Local historian and broadcaster Ken McCormack interviews Deirdre Donnelly, researcher.

Local historian and broadcaster Ken McCormack interviews Deirdre Donnelly, researcher.

Historic walking trails surround the Ardmore hotel where the remnants of Base One Europe - the former base of the US Navy and Marine Corps during World War II - can still be found.

‘Living History’ interpretations, history talks, trail explorations, and reminiscence workshops and recordings will all take place during the free fun day which is organised by The Playhouse and Beech Hill Hotel.

Participants will also be invited to get their hands dirty in Autumn Environmental Art Workshops and get their body fit with Bugle Call PT exercises while, at the same time, working up a hearty Marine appetite for an American Family Barbeque to conclude the day’s festivities.

While taking part in the historic natural trails, which include the Marine’s original Quonset huts, visitors will meet Private First Class Marine Joe Jones and his best buddy Corporal John Smith and hear the exceptional story of Base One Europe.

Private First Class Marine Joe Jones (local actor Kieran Griffiths) and Irish American Hollywood starlet Peggy Diggins (Rionach ''McGlinchey) walk the trails that twist their way through the mixed woodland and landscaped gardens at the Beech Hill.

Private First Class Marine Joe Jones (local actor Kieran Griffiths) and Irish American Hollywood starlet Peggy Diggins (Rionach ''McGlinchey) walk the trails that twist their way through the mixed woodland and landscaped gardens at the Beech Hill.

“When the United States entered WWII in 1941, the US Navy had already chosen Derry as the location for their Base One Europe,” Pauline Ross, of The Playhouse, says. “The woodlands and fields around what is now the Beech Hill Country House Hotel were transformed into the main accommodation camp for the Naval Base. This extraordinary period of history will now be brought to life.”

This special Family Fun Day at Base One Europe-The Beech Hill Camp on Sunday October 7, from 2pm to 5pm, is free and all are welcome. To book, contact The Beech Hill Hotel on Tel: 028 71349279.