Limavady’s RAF role should not be forgotten - Colr.

Presenter Dan Snow at the former Coastal Command Base in Limavady last year (file pic) (1405sj22)
Presenter Dan Snow at the former Coastal Command Base in Limavady last year (file pic) (1405sj22)

A councillor says as the Roe Valley celebrates 400 years of “illustrious history, it would be wrong not to highlight the part played by RAF Airfield, Limavady, in the Battle of the Atlantic.

DUP Colr. James McCorkell was speaking after events at the weekend to mark the longest continuous military campaign in World War II, running from 1939 to the defeat of Germany in 1945.

“The soldiers and airmen who were stationed there, together with the civilian workers who did their bit in the war effort, all earned and deserve their part in the history of Limavady,” he said.

“It is hard to imagine that 68 years ago Limavady was the epicenter of such a pivotal battle in what was to become a monumental piece of world history - but it was - and we should not and will not allow the memory to pass.”

Last year, Limavady Council pledged to see what can be done to preserve some of the borough’s historical buildings which played a part in WWII.

In June 2012, the ‘Journal’ reported local councillors agreed “Council writes to the appropriate authority to start the process of listing and preservation for some of the unique buildings on the former RAF Limavady and associated sites...”.

Previously, some of the buildings at Aghanloo featured on a BBC programme hosted by Dan Snow.

DUP Colr. McCorkell subsequently initiated the move by Council with a motion calling for Council to start the process itself, but after discussion there was an amendment to the motion from SDLP Colr. Michael Coyle who said Council didn’t have the power to list buildings. Colr. McCorkell said there were three reasons for his call - historical, heritage and economic.

“The area played a key role in the Battle of the Atlantic,” Colr. McCorkell said. “In fact the route from Limavady to Londonderry has an abundance of sites from the time of the second World War. Areas including Magilligan, Ballykelly, Greysteel, Eglinton, Maydown and Lisahally, all carry stories and bear the relics of that period.”

Colr. McCorkell said Limavady was specifically used by RAF Coastal Command to combat the threat of Nazi U-Boats to shipping in the Atlantic. Referring to the control tower and anti-aircraft gunners training dome at Aghanloo he said Council had a duty not to let them fall into further dereliction. He said the Limavady dome was one of only two that had survived, the other located in Langham and is listed by the DoE. He said the corridor should be used to attract visitors to the area, creating a “mini tourist hub at Aghanloo”.