Press Release

Springtown Camp Book Sales To Help Local Groups:


Two Derry voluntary organisations got a welcome boost this week when they were presented with proceeds from the sales of a best-selling book on Springtown Camp. ‘Springtown Camp … from the inside’, a highly personal account of life in the former US Navy camp on the outskirts of Derry, was researched and written by former resident Willie Deery. Launched in May 2010, it inspired rave reviews from all quarters and sold out within several weeks. Ethan Deery, a pupil of St Anne’s PS and Willie’s grandson, presented cheques on behalf of the author to Hugo McConnell of the Springtown Camp website and Eamon Melaugh of Action With Effect at the Ráth Mór premises of publishers Guildhall Press.


The book vividly recalls the plight of hundreds of ordinary Derry families who felt trapped, helpless and forgotten having to live in terrible conditions in the Springtown Road camp between 1947 and 1966. Their choices were stark – emigrate, stay and tolerate the grinding reality, or stand up and confront the powers-that-be.
Author Willie Deery commented: “We are delighted that the book was so well received and sold so well as it means we can now make this donation to assist the valuable work of these two local groups. Eamon Melaugh has done great work over many years with his charity Action With Effect helping the underprivileged in India. And Hugo McConnell has dedicated a lot of time on a voluntarily basis over the years as well to create and develop the Springtown camp website. This charitable approach to others is an echo of the many kind people who lived in the camp who were always willing to give their neighbours or friends a helping hand if they could.”
Eamon Melaugh explained how important such donations are: “I wish to thank Willie Deery, and Ethan, for making this generous donation. It will go directly to feeding all the abandoned orphans we work with in the various shelters in Delhi, India. It is wonderful that someone who has experienced deprivation in Derry in Springtown Camp is able to contribute in such a way to the alleviation of deprivation in another country.”
Hugo McConnell added: “We are very grateful to Willie and Ethan for their kind gift towards our website. This donation will enable us to maintain and update the Springtown Camp site which keeps former US Navy personnel and former camp residents and their families now living across the world in touch with each other. In years to come the site will be a valuable primary resource for future generations to explore aspects of their history that would otherwise be forgotten.”

Ethan Deery, a pupil of St Anne’s PS and grandson of author Willie Deery, presents cheques from the proceeds of sales of ‘Springtown Camp… from the inside’ to Eamon Melaugh of Action With Effect charity and Hugo McConnell, administrator of