The Donegal Spitfire takes flight as book
CLAUDY aviation historian, Jonny McNee, is poised for take off with his book charting the search and discovery of the World War II Spitfire found buried in a North Donegal bog.
The discovery and excavation of the World War II Spitfire plane from a remote area of bogland in Inishowen is the subject of the book ‘The Storey of the Donegal Spitfire’ which is to be published in the coming weeks.
‘The Story of the Donegal Spitfire’ has been entirely written by the Claudy aviation historian, who found the fighter plane last year and embarked on an ambitious year long project to have it excavated and preserved. Currently with the printers, the book is expected to be available within the next two weeks, priced at £8.85 plus postage. It is a 130-page soft-back, which includes 12 pages of colour photographs. The book will also be available from Mr McNee directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 07773301212. City-based bookshops will also be stocking the book.
“This book charts the story behind the discovery and excavation in 2011 of Spitfire serial number P8074 from 133 (Eagle) Squadron RAF. During WW2, this squadron was based for a few months at RAF Eglinton. The story became known in the media as ‘The Donegal Spitfire’ and was the first licenced excavation of a WW2 aircraft anywhere on the island of Ireland,” said Mr mcNee, continuing: “The book also covers the fascinating career of its American pilot, Pilot Officer Roland ‘Bud’ Wolfe who abandoned his stricken aircraft in November 1941 which then nosedived and buried itself deep beneath the peat on the Glenshinny mountain, in the townland of Moneydarragh, near Gleneely village on the Inishowen peninsula, Co Donegal.”
He went on: “It recollects the joyous highs and stressful lows in obtaining the required archaeological licences and permissions for a project that had never been attempted before. The tale of the pilot’s internment in neutral Eire, followed by a short-lived escape back to his squadron at RAF Eglinton and his subsequent re–internment under the orders of the RAF immediately grabbed the public imagination.
“The book also covers the war time donation of this iconic fighter by successful Canadian businessman Garfield Weston and its incredible state of preservation. The firing of one of its recovered Browning machine guns, watched by over a million people on the BBC website, catapulted the P8074 story onto a global stage,” Mr McNee said.
‘The Story of the Donegal Spitfire’ culminated in the emotional visit to Londonderry by the pilot’s two daughters and other members of the extended family to commemorate their father’s war time career and launch the museum exhibition of recovered items.
The discovery and excavation of Spitfire P8074 was recorded as part of a BBC NI series entitled ‘Dig WW2’ presented by Dan Snow and filmed by Londonderry-based 360 Production.
The series is to be broadcast in spring 2012.
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