Seeking information on the ‘B’ Specials

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Sir, I am in the process of collecting information on the local units of the Ulster Special Constabulary and would like to hear to hear any stories or information your readers might have.

My interest stems from my Grandfather, James Thompson MM. He served in WW1 with the Royal Artillery in France and later in the Irish Civil War when he was stationed at Athlone Barracks. After partition he moved up North and served with the A Specials and in his latter life was a Platoon Sgt. in Dervock.

He also served in ‘C’ Section of the local UHG during WW2 which comprised of Mosside, Dervock, Stranocum, Ballybogey and Benvardin, total strength, 233 men. He represented County Antrim as part of the 12 strong UHG contingent in the Victory March held in London in 1946.

For now my appeal is directed initially at the the men who served and are still with us but also the stories that have been handed down to the families of those who served in the Dervock Platoon of the USC. I hope to follow this up with the information on the local UHG units, so I welcome any information from other area’s regarding this. I would like to know the structure and strengths of each Platoon, how they communicated their intelligence reports which enabled them to mobilise at short notice, bearing in mind that few, if any had a telephone!

In the early days there were three classes of the USC, A, B and C and I believe my Grandfather started off as an A Special in Donegal Pass and was stationed in Donegal Pass RUC Station, he later moved back home to Dervock as Platoon Sgt. and served with the B category of the Specials when the A and C units were demobilised, were there others locally who served in the A and C categories and later with the B category?

Some of the pictures I have been studying has shown me the great pride that existed within each unit in their shooting abilities, many wear “marksman” crossed rifles on their sleeves and each picture has an array of cups and trophies, I would like to hear the stories relating to these inter competitions. Unfortunately many of the men who were there are no longer with us but I know there are some and I would like to hear from them. Any information given will be treated with discretion, photographs copied and any cherished items will be photographed and given back.

I can be contacted on (Home) 028 276 69311 (Mobile) 07846854211

I look forward to hearing from you

Peter Thompson