Students engineer US scholarships

FOUR students from North West Regional College received a prestigious scholarship from a body commemorating the US Naval Communications base situated in Londonderry City during the Second World War.

US Navcommsta Londonderry Alumni Association (USNLAA) is a commemorative body established to reunite those sailors and civilians, and their families, who served at the US Naval Communication station in Londonderry, during its years of operation, 1942 to 1977. To extend the association, the Alumni Committee have decided to establish a scholarship fund for deserving students in the North West area. This is now the third year of this unique alumni presentation scheme.

The four students, Eunan O’Neill, Paul Black, David Gillespie, and Alan Grant, are all undertaking Engineering study at North West Regional College, and were selected on the basis of their progression and achievement within the college, as well as showing evidence of their motivation to progress onto higher education.

A spokesperson for North West Regional College said: “We are honoured that the US Navcommsta Association has chosen our College as recipients for this commemorative award. These scholarships will support current study at the College for our students, and should provide incentives for progression onto higher education opportunities.”

US Naval communications in Northern Ireland began out of necessity when the US Naval Operating Base at Londonderry became a centre of military activity at the beginning of World War II. In 1943, the US Navy acquired use of the land upon which the Clooney and Rossdowney compounds were later situated.

The base was disestablished in September 1977, ending a 35-year history of US Naval communications in Derry, and bringing to an end what had been a very long and close relationship of US Navy sailors with the local community. US Navcommsta Londonderry had been the oldest US Naval facility in Europe. No other US military service organization served in Londonderry longer than the US Navy, serving for more than 35 years.