Belgian soldiers return to Carrick

Forty-one Belgian ex-servicemen were to return to Carrick after almost 20 years, according to a report in the East Antrim Times in May 1965.

The soldiers belonged to the Third Infantry Brigade of the Belgian Army.

Their camp, together with that of the Eighth Infantry Brigade, had been located in Sunnylands where they had been stationed for several years.

Following the liberation of Belgium, at the end of World War II, the troops arrivedin Northern Ireland, in March 1945 apparently as “inexperienced recruits”.

The report stated that they underwent their basic training in Carrickfergus as part of re-building the Belgian army.

Their visit to the borough was being organised with the help of Carrickfergus Sports and Entertainments Committee which was “endeavouring to draw up a programme of special interest for the visitors.”

The soldiers who had formed an ex-service association expressed a wish to renew many old acquaintances and revisit old local landmarks with which they had become familiar during their deployment.

The report noted that their old camp had become part of Sunnylands housing estate.