US Navy and Marines history month

Patsy O'Kane, Beech Hill Country House Hotel owner and volunteer researcher Mark Lusby, pictured in the Museum Room at the Beech Hill Hotel.
Patsy O'Kane, Beech Hill Country House Hotel owner and volunteer researcher Mark Lusby, pictured in the Museum Room at the Beech Hill Hotel.

A month long series of commemorative events to mark the 75th anniversary of the US Navy and Marines Corps arriving in Derry is to be held at the Beech Hill Country House Hotel.

As home to Base One Europe, the largest WWII US Navy base in Europe, Derry played a pivotal role in the defeat of the German U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Around 750 US Navy and Marines personnel were billeted in one of the main accommodation camps in the woodlands around the present-day Beech Hill.

Events as part of US Navy and Marines History Month at the hotel’s Base One Europe Museum will take place throughout August.

Around 400 US Navy personnel were deployed to Derry in July 1941, before the US entered the Second World War.

The personnel built what would become the largest US Navy base in Europe and a ‘home away from home’ for the US Destroyers and Destroy Escorts who would go on to defeat the Nazi U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic.

The facility employed thousands of civilians from the island of Ireland in its state of the art ship repair yard and innovative Naval Hospital.

Hotel owner, Patsy O’Kane said it was important to mark one of the most significant chapters in Derry’s history.

“The Beech Hill continues to enjoy a very special relationship with the US Marines and it is a friendship we are very proud of.

“It is now three quarters of a century since the first personnel were billeted at the Beech Hill and a fitting time for us to remember their roles - and the roles of our city and the hotel - in world history.”

Each Tuesday evening throughout US Navy and Marines History Month, the museum’s volunteer researcher Mark Lusby will host a short talk in the hotel on the history of the Navy and Marines in Derry.

The talks will be followed by guided tours around the estate and the Base One Europe Museum, which documents the story of the Marines’ headquarters on the hotel grounds.

Mr. Lusby said the events will “unpack the legacy of those dramatic events 75 years ago for the heritage of both the US and Derry.”

The historical talks will take place every Tuesday evening from 7.00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. from August 8th to 29th, with an admission fee of £5 as a donation towards publication of the story of Base One Europe.