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Military airbase protected to mark WW1 centenary

Published 07/07/2016

The airbase was used to hunt for German submarines in WW1
The airbase was used to hunt for German submarines in WW1

The first military airbase in Ireland has been protected to mark the centenary of World War 1.

Whitehead Aerodrome was established in October 1915. It was home to Royal Naval Air Service airships which patrolled the Irish Sea looking for German U-boats.

The former site at Bentra golf course has been preserved as a WW1 centenary field by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

Mayor Audrey Wales said: "This is a very exciting initiative from Fields in Trust which is being embraced by the council as part of its commitment to marking the centenary of WWI in a very public way."

The primary task for the airships stationed at the Bentra was to protect the Larne-Stranraer ferry and guard incoming convoys in the North Channel from German submarines, according to History Hub Ulster.

When the prevailing wind permitted, the crew would scout from the air, looking for submarines on the surface or the wake of a periscope. Success depended on close cooperation between the naval airmen and the warships operating from Larne harbour.

Centenary Fields is a project run by charity Fields in Trust, in partnership with The Royal British Legion.

Across the UK, parks, playing fields and community gardens are being protected forever to mark the anniversary of World War I.

Fields in Trust development manager Terry Housden said: "This programme is a fitting way for us to mark the sacrifices made by so many in World War I whilst looking to the future through a living remembrance."

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From Belfast Telegraph