Daughter visits WW2 crash site

The daughter of one of the crew members of the Bristol Beaufort bomber, which crashed outside Ballykelly in 1942, paid an emotional visit to the area last weekend.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 2:27 pm
Ms Nicole Sloan, Jonny McNee, Grace, Hannah, Marcie, Emily and Harry (members of the Foyle College Archeological Team) and the Harvey family.
Ms Nicole Sloan, Jonny McNee, Grace, Hannah, Marcie, Emily and Harry (members of the Foyle College Archeological Team) and the Harvey family.

Di Harvey, who is the daughter of F/L Richard Holdsworth, visited the crash site with her three daughters and met with local aviation archeology enthusiast Jonny McNee and members of the Foyle College Archeological Team.

Parts of the rare WW2 bomber were excavated during a dig by the group earlier this year.

Di, who is from the Shetlands, never got to meet her father as he died two months before she was born.

Di Harvey, with her daughters Stella Tamara and Petra, at the site outside Ballykelly where the Bristol Beaufort bomber crashed in April 1942.

F/L Holdsworth (33) was killed along with 22-year-old F/L Archibald Duncan Livingstone RAF and 22-year-old F/S Stanley Frederick Chadwick while they were conducting parachute tests on the twin-engined aircraft when it crashed outside Ballykelly on April 30, 1942.

F/L Holdsworth’s daughter Di planted a tree in memory of the three crew members at the crash site and visited the graves of two of them in the nearby Tamlaghtfinlagan Parish Church graveyard.

Jonny McNee said that while Di had visited Ballykelly as a child, this was the first time she had ever visited the area as an adult and it was emotional.

“Di never knew her father, as he died two months before she was born, so all she knew was stories about him.

Di Harvey planting a beech copper tree in memory of the three crew members of AW271 who died in 1941. Canon Harold Given, Rector of Tamlaghfinlagan, presided over prayers at the the tree planting.

“We were able to show her all the items we had recovered during the dig and she was able to meet the members of FCAT who had been keeping her updated on the progress for the last number of months. We showed her the archeological journey that we had all been on.

“She was absolutely overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of this young generation, who didn’t know her dad or have experience of the war.”

The group are now in the process of getting a memorial stone created to be placed alongside the tree planted by Di last weekend.

Di Harvey, the daughter of FL Richard Holdsworth who was killed in the April 1942 crash, with Jonny McNee and dig helper Harry Miller
Jonny Mc Nee showing the Harvey family some of the artefacts receovered during the dig outside Ballykelly.
Di Harvey and daughters Stella, Tamara and Petra visiting the graves of the other crew members of AW271.
A propellor shaft from the WW2 bomber which was excavated from a site outside Ballykelly earlier this year.