Appeal over lost Eglinton Spitfire

Two archaeologists have embarked on a quest to find a Spitfire that crashed near Eglinton during World War II.

The team has appealed for information on the fighter plane which came down in the grounds of RAF Eglinton Airfield almost 67 years ago.

Aviation archaeologists Gareth Jones and Steve Vizard have been tracing the history of the pilots of the Welsh 53 Operational training unit.

Mr Jones appealed for any help the Derry public may have on the "mystery" of the missing plane.

He said: "We know it's a long shot as we are asking for the locals to try and cast their memory back almost 67 years."

The plane was flown by Officer Bill Creed in a squadron posted at RAF Eglinton to attack German bombers over Derry. The 21 year-old of the Welsh 53 Operational training unit was considered above an average pilot with almost 62 hours flown on Spitfires.

During the afternoon of the May 18, 1942 two Spitfire took off from the airfield having been instructed to practice dog-fighting attacks on each other at 9000ft. Climbing into position for the attack the spitfire began to judder violently and spiral out of control. The pilot managed to get free of the plane and parachute to safety as the out of control Spitfire continued to dive before burying itself in the soft ground below.

Readers with information on the lost plane have been urged to contact John Devine from City of Derry airport on 02871 810784 or atc@cityofderryairport.com

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