Category Archives: World War 2

Sister Irene Wright

Sister Irene Wright

There are a total of 321 Portadown men on the towns war memorial who paid the supreme sacrifice in the 1st World War.  The plaque honouring the dead of the 2nd World War bears the names of 66 men and one woman who died in the 1939-45 conflict.

The woman who died in the 2nd World War was Sister Irene Wright, who served in the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Services. Irene lived in Park Road, and was educated at Portadown Technical School where she played hockey for the school team. Irene was the daughter of Ernest and Eliza Jane Wright.

At the outbreak of the war she volunteered for the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing service and was sent to Singapore.  Sister Irene Wright was embarked on HMS Kuala, an auxiliary anti-submarine vessel, and it left Singapore on 13th February 1942.

The next morning Japanese aircraft sank Kuala off Pompong Island, 90 miles south of Singapore.  Although there were survivors, Sister Irene Wright was not one of them.  She was lost at sea, and is commemorated on the Singapore memorial.

Irene’s cousin Eva was also a trained nurse and was stationed in London during the Battle of Britain and The Blitz.  Her brother William was a draughtsman at Harland and Wolff Shipyard, Belfast before emigrating to Canada.

Ernest Wright, Irene’s father, served in the 1914-1918 war and was employed in the family bakery at West Street, Portadown.

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World War 2 Air Raid Shelter

World War 2 Air Raid Shelter

The Bann Bridge air raid shelter was discovered in 2005 during the widening and strengthening of the bridge over the river.  It is believed to be one of the last remaining intact Second World War air raid shelters in Northern Ireland.  The unearthing of the air raid shelter coincided with the 60th anniversary of victory in Europe day (VE) on 8th May 2005.  It was decided to cover over the structure to preserve it for future generations of Portadown.

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