Local students to dig for rare WW2 plane

A group of young people have launched a fundraising campaign to enable them to carry out an archeological dig for a RAF aircraft that crashed locally during WW2.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 1:22 pm
The students from Foyle College Aviation Team at a previous dig site. none

The students, from Foyle College Aviation Team (FCAT), will be assisting a team of experienced aviation archeologists, academics from Queen’s University, Belfast, and surveyors to undertake the recovery of the remains of a rare Bristol Beaufort aircraft that crashed near Limavady in 1942.

The aircraft was based at RAF Ballykelly during WW2 as part of the Coastal Command Development Unit.

Sadly, the three crew members- F/L Archibald Duncan Livingstone (22), F/L Richard William Gilbert Holdsworth (31) and F/S Stanley Frederick Chadwick (21) - were killed when the aircraft stalled at low altitude while undertaking a parachute test.

The students are planning to place a suitable memorial to the crew at the crash site, as well as arranging a suitable commemoration event later in the year.

They are also planning for a trip to the RAF Museum in London to meet the relatives of the crew, in front of the only surviving example of a Beaufort to be found in the UK.

The pupils have been working closely with the relatives of the crew that they have traced to learn more about the three airmen.

They have been gathering family anecdotes and photographs and increasing their understanding of war time service.

The FCAT pupils are no strangers to such digs having previously excavated a Battle of Britain Spitfire and a US P38 Lightning, as part of a critically acclaimed and award winning 18 month exhibition for Monaghan County Museum during 2017 – 2019.

This is likely to be their last dig together as they prepare for ‘A’ level exams and University and the students hope to go out on a high with this most sensitive and emotional dig.