Battle for the Hitler line: 80th anniversary commemorated in Carrickfergus

The 80th anniversary of the Battle for the Hitler Line was commemorated in Carrickfergus on May 17 and 18, 2024.

The battle in Italy in 1944 was a pivotal event, which breached Nazi defences and paved the way for ultimate victory.

The North Irish Horse - which had many soldiers from the borough in its ranks - supported the 1st Canadian Division in a frontal attack on the Hitler Line, which stretched across central Italy. Success came at price, however, with the loss of 36 men and 32 tanks.

In recognition of the support they received, the Canadian government awarded the North Irish Horse the honour of wearing the Maple Leaf, and each year Maple Leaf insignia is presented to underline this unique tradition.

To remember the momentous anniversary, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council organised several key events.

On Friday, May 17, there was a keynote address in Carrick Town Hall by military historian Richard Doherty.

On Saturday, May 18, a drumhead service at Joymount car park preceded a parade through the town led by the Band of the Royal Irish Regiment and a church service at St. Nicholas Parish Church.

In attendance was the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna plus the Lord Lieutenant for County Antrim, former members of the North Irish Horse and current serving members from Northern Ireland and Scotland.