RAF Castle Archdale

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by conaire mcneary, Feb 21, 2018.

  1. I am the warden of Castle Archdale Country Park in County Fermanagh, N. Ireland and would be very interested in hearing from anyone who has photographs or documentation relating to the WWII RAF flying boat base. I am hoping to one day secure funding to revamp the museum but would like to add to the displays and bring a little more of a personal touch to it with first hand accounts of life on the base in the 1940s/50s.

    Any info or help is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

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  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

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  4. Great thanks guys I'll check them out. I've seen the coastal command site shame it's no longer active.
     
  5. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Untitled Normal Page

    (Links to site on RAF Castle Archdale)

    Some interesting Castle Archdale pictures in the above link.
     
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  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    The remnants of a World War Two seaplane have been discovered at the bottom of Lough Erne in County Fermanagh.

    It is believed to be a Catalina, also known as a "flying boat".

    [​IMG]

    The seaplanes played a crucial role in the area during WW2, protecting Allied shipping convoys in the Atlantic.

    Marine experts said they think the aircraft may have crashed into the lough and therefore the site is being protected as a potential war grave.


    WW2 seaplane found at bottom of lough
     
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  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    WW2 seaplane found at bottom of lough
    image.png
    The submerged aircraft is thought to be a Catalina, also known as a "flying boat"

    The remnants of a World War Two seaplane have been discovered at the bottom of Lough Erne in County Fermanagh.

    It is believed to be a Catalina, also known as a "flying boat".

    The seaplanes played a crucial role in the area during WW2, protecting Allied shipping convoys in the Atlantic.

    Marine experts said they think the aircraft may have crashed into the lough and therefore the site is being protected as a potential war grave.

    'Underwater heritage'
    The submerged aircraft was first spotted during a specialist survey of the lough last year, when surveyors reported an "anomaly" under the water.

    Members of the Charts Special Interest Group (CSIG) reported their findings to the authorities, saying they believed they had found a Catalina lying at a depth of about 45m (148ft).

    A sonar survey of the site was then carried out in April this year to check if their theory was correct.

    image.png
    DAERA released a high-resolution side-scan sonar image of the aircraft

    It was arranged by Rory McNeary, a maritime archaeologist working for Stormont's Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

    On 8 April 2019, staff from DAERA's marine and fisheries division used sonar technology to confirm the identification of the Catalina aircraft.

    Mr McNeary paid tribute to CSIG members for detecting a long-lost piece of WW2 history.

    image.png
    The Lough Erne Survey Team were praised for their discovery

    "Had the site not been reported, a unique underwater heritage asset would have been overlooked," he said.

    "Studying the seaplane will be of immense interest to professional and amateur historians alike."

    'Possible human remains'
    The public has been warned that the site is now automatically protected by law.

    Under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986, it is an offence to tamper with, damage, move or unearth any remains without a licence.

    "Given that there is still the possibility of human remains and unexploded ordnance being found at the site we would ask people to fully recognise its protected status," said Mr McNeary.

    Catalina pilots provided much-needed air cover for Allied convoys in the Atlantic between 1941 and 1945.

    They were deployed to the nearby Royal Air Force (RAF) base at Castle Archdale in County Fermanagh.
     
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  8. Pat Atkins

    Pat Atkins Patron Patron

    Blog here records several Catalina crashes; one in 1944 a possibility in the absence of more precise information (no doubt others, too) - RIP, if so.

    I can claim no expertise or insight whatsoever, but it would be good to identify the a/c. No doubt further investigation will be done on site.

    Pat
     
  9. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    There is an excellent article on RAF Archdale/RAF Lough Erne illustrating the history of the base and post war developments in Stations of Coastal Command.Then and Now (ATB)

    One particular interestingly arrangement was the secret agreement to overfly Eire territory for direct access to the Atlantic rather than the much longer route heading north and maintaining overflights over NI territory.This corridor out over Donegal Bay was known as the Donegal Corridor.

    An important credit claimed by RAF Archdale was the part played by the Catalinas of its two resident squadrons,Nos 209 and 240 in May 1941.In the pursuit of the Bismarck which already sunk HMS Hood on 24 May,contact by the RN was lost but a search by a No 209 Squadron Catalina picked up a bearing of Bismarck through a gap in cloud cover on 26 May. Bismarck was shadowed for 4 and a half hours enabling continual monitoring of the battleship's position to be established when a Catalina of No 240 Squadron relieved it.Bismarck was sunk the next day,the 27th after her steering gear was damaged by Swordfish torpedoes and the RN finished her off at the same time that the Bismarck's crew were i the act of scuttling their ship.

    All in all, 650 Catalinas saw service with the RAF after the flying boat's potential as a sea going reconnaissance flying boat was first recognised by the Air Ministry for the new Coastal Command.After receiving a test aircraft in July 1939, an order for 30 was taken up but deliveries did not take place until early in 1941.The Archdale squadrons were one of the first units to operate the Catalina.

    A range of 4000 miles with an endurance of over 17 hours and a crew compliment of 8-9 made the Catalina an asset to Coastal Command.Two VC's were awarded to pilot's of Catalinas engaged in the Battle of the Atlantic.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019

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