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Spitfire pulled from Irish peat bog

Published 28/06/2011

A Second World War RAF Spitfire has been excavated from an Irish peat bog almost 70 years after it crash-landed
A Second World War RAF Spitfire has been excavated from an Irish peat bog almost 70 years after it crash-landed

A Second World War RAF Spitfire has been excavated from an Irish peat bog almost 70 years after it crash-landed.

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.

"It's in amazing condition," he told RTE radio.

The Irish Defence Forces said the six Browning .303 machine guns and approximately 1,000 rounds of ammunition were discovered by a team of archaeologists from Queens University buried up to 30 feet in the bog.

"The six machine guns and ammunition have been removed by the bomb disposal team to a secure military location where they will be decommissioned and cleaned before being handed over to the Derry Museum," a spokesman added.

Mr Snow said Mr Wolf was forced to abandon his Spitfire over the Republic when its engine overheated about 13 miles from his base at RAF Eglinton, now Derry International Airport, in Northern Ireland.

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