Seventy years since GIs stopped time by shooting the Town Clock

Danny Mc Crudden, at Coleraine Town Hall.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
Danny Mc Crudden, at Coleraine Town Hall.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
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IT’S some seventy years since time literally stood still in Coleraine - when some trigger happy American soldiers took pot shots at the Town Clock.

Killowen man Danny McCrudden was a 13-year-old pupil at St John’s Primary School when two GI’s - apparently inebriated - took aim at the timepiece.

“It was two US officers billeted in The Corporation Arms [in the Diamond] who took the shots from the east window of the hotel,” recalled Danny, who is now 85.

“It happened in the region of 4am in the morning - so who would have heard it?

Danny added: “I remember that it was a very long time before the clock was ever fixed.

“I think that it was in 1943 - maybe other people will know more details about it.

“But it’s definitely a part of the war history of Coleraine.”

Danny claimed that the Yanks had taken one too many.

“They were drunk and were betting who could hit the number six on the clock.

“Did anyone hear it and where did the bullets go? In those days there would only have been two policemen up the town at night. Was it ever reported? I don’t think so.”

GIs were also based nearby close to the town bridge, Captain Street and Bridge Street.

“The American soldiers were all about the town,” said Danny.

“They used to take the weins a sale around in their jeeps.

“People at the bus stop near the Town Hall would have seen the holes in the clock, no doubt about it.”