Skip to comments.RAF Spitfire pulled from Irish peat bog
Posted on 07/04/2011 11:05:25 AM PDT by KeyLargo
RAF Spitfire pulled from Irish peat bog
A Second World War RAF Spitfire has been excavated from an Irish peat bog almost 70 years after it crash-landed. A piece of the Wreckage of the World War Two spitire that crashed into the Bog in County Donegal
A piece of the Wreckage of the World War Two spitire that crashed into the Bog in County Donegal 6:00AM BST 29 Jun 2011
Six machine guns and about 1,000 rounds of ammunition were also discovered by archaeologists searching the Inishowen Peninsula in Co Donegal.
The British fighter plane was piloted by an American, Roland "Bud" Wolf, who parachuted safely from the aircraft before it crashed in the bog in November 1941.
The excavation was carried out as part of a BBC Northern Ireland programme.
Historian Dan Snow said: "The plane itself is obviously kind of wreckage and the big pieces survived. We're expecting to find things like the engine and there still may be personal effects in the cockpit.
"It's just incredible because it's just so wet here that the ground just sucked it up and the plane was able to burrow into it and it's been preserved.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
When freed he joined the US Army Air Force and served in Korea and Vietnam. He died in 1994. "
Spitfire Recovery Unearths Unique Story
An RAF Spitfire flown by American pilot Roland "Bud" Wolfe dug itself deep into an Irish hillside on Nov. 30, 1941, after he bailed out, and now, 70 years later, that aircraft has been recovered. The recovery effort included an aviation historian, a team of archaeologists and the BBC, and will serve as the subject of a documentary. According to the Derry Journal, a newspaper from the town where the aircraft had been based, Wolfe had joined the RAF before America's official entry into the war and lost his U.S. citizenship because of it. He'd been flying on patrol near the north coast of Ireland when his engine began to rapidly overheat and he bailed out. Wolfe was detained by members of the Local Defence Force and held by the Irish Army, but escaped on Dec. 13, leading to what may be an even more unusual story.
"hey, you hear they kicked out sum luittle spitfire named Raf off of some Irish kids blog named Pete"
The plane might have crashed or sunk into the bog but I don’t think it took it’s wheels and burrowed itself into it.
There is only one flying Spit, and it is an ugly two seater. Any chance this one can be rebuilt?
Sure, start with the original data plate and build all new around it.
An attempt to recover a Spitfire from a peat bog in Donegal will highlight the peculiar story of the men - both British and German - who spent much of World War II in relative comfort in neighbouring camps in Dublin, writes historian Dan Snow.
In Northern Ireland in 1941, a routine Sunday afternoon sortie by a pilot flying one of Britain’s Spitfire fighters runs into difficulties.
Returning to base after flying “top-cover” for maritime convoys off the coast of Donegal, the Rolls Royce Merlin engine overheats and fails.
The pilot yells into his radio “I’m going over the side”, slides back the bubble canopy, releases his seat straps and launches himself into the air.
The Spitfire is one of the most vaunted examples of British engineering’s history. The greatest ever single-seat, piston-engined fighter, it had played a vital role during the Battle of Britain the year before.
Its design was so advanced that it served on the front line from the first to the last day of the war. Bailing out was no easy task.
The air flow hit this particular pilot like a freight train and tore off his boots. Luckily he was able to deploy his parachute and landed in a peat bog. His aircraft smashed into the bog half a mile away.
It sounds like a typical wartime accident but it was anything but. It was the beginning of one of the strangest incidents of WWII.
Bud Wolfe was very keen to get back into action The pilot was 23-year-old Roland “Bud” Wolfe, an RAF officer from 133 “Eagle” Squadron, a unit entirely composed of Americans.
Bud himself was from Nebraska, one of a number of Americans who had volunteered to take up Britain’s cause. Since the US was not yet at war with Germany when the men volunteered, the American government stripped Wolfe and others of their citizenship. These pilots were a mix of idealists and thrill seekers.
When Wolfe was found by the authorities he realised his, already unusual, situation was much more complicated than he had guessed. He had crashed over the border.
Since the South was neutral it had been decided that all servicemen of any belligerent nation that ended up on Irish soil through navigational error, shipwreck or other accident would be interned for the duration of the war.
Wolfe found himself heading not back to his airbase, RAF Eglinton, now City of Derry Airport, in Northern Ireland just 13 miles away, but to Curragh Camp, County Kildare, 175 miles to the south.
Here, a huddle of corrugated iron huts housed 40 other RAF pilots and crewmen who had accidentally come down in neutral territory. They were effectively prisoners of war.
It was an odd existence. The guards had blank rounds in their rifles, visitors were permitted (one officer shipped his wife over), and the internees were allowed to come and go. Fishing excursions, fox hunting, golf and trips to the pub in the town of Naas helped pass the time.
But what was really odd was the proximity of the Germans.
It was not just the British and their allies who got lost above and around Ireland. German sailors from destroyed U-boats and Luftwaffe aircrew also found themselves interned. The juxtaposition of the two sides made for surreal drama.
Dublin stayed neutral in 1939 - it was only 18 years since it secured partial independence after centuries of British rule. Taoiseach Eamon de Valera even paid his respects to German representative in Dublin when news of Hitler’s death emerged. But Irish people were not all so impartial - a 2009 Edinburgh University study found more than 3,600 soldiers from the South died on active service
And in the British army alone, 100,000 Irish people served in WWII - half from the South.
Sport was a notable feature at the camp. In one football match the Germans beat the British 8-3. There were also boxing contests.
It appears that the rivalry on the pitch followed the teams into the pub afterwards as well. They would drink at different bars, and the British once complained vigorously when the Luftwaffe internees turned up to a dance they had organised.
Anything further from front-line service is hard to imagine.
It may seem to us like a welcome chance to sit out the war with honour intact, plenty of distractions and no danger, but for Wolfe it was an unacceptable interruption to his flying activities.
On 13 December 1941 he walked straight out of camp and after a meal in a hotel, which he did not pay for, he headed into nearby Dublin and caught the train the next day to Belfast. Within hours he was back at RAF Eglinton where he had taken off two weeks earlier in his defective Spitfire.
He could not have expected what was to happen next. The British government decided that, in this dark hour, it would be unwise to upset a neutral nation.
The decision was made to send Wolfe back to The Curragh and internment. Back in the camp, Wolfe made the best of it, joining the fox-hunting with relish.
He did try to escape again but this time he was caught. Finally in 1943, with the US in the war, and the tide slowly turning, The Curragh was closed and the internees returned. Wolfe joined the US Army Air Force and served once again on the front line.
So great was his love of flying that he also served in Korea and even Vietnam. He eventually died in 1994.
There are way more than one spitfire flying.Check out the fighter collection at duxford england.
Was his citizenship ever restored?
OH,THATS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE.;)
Fantastic song that highlights British fliers.
After the P-51 Mustang I suspect that the Supermarine Spitfire is the second most popular WW-II fighter
As Chuck Yeager wrote concerning performance evaluations of fighters, regardles of the plane, the better pilot generally came out on top.
. In 1948, the Israelis flying ME-109's swept the skies of Egyptian Spitfires.
I’m sure it was; according to the Telegraph article, he joined the Army Air Corps after being freed (at last) from the internment camp. Sounds like he became a career Air Force officer, serving in both Korea and Vietnam.
During my own career in the USAF, I met a few NCOs who were foreign nationals (Filipinos and even a Brit), but I never knew an officer who wasn’t a U.S. citizen. I’m guessing his citizenship was restored once he became a member of the Air Corps. As I recall, there were American volunteers who took on Canadian citizenship to fly with the RAF and their Eagle squadrons. But they regained American citizenship when they accepted commissions with the U.S. military.