04/07/2019

WWII Seaplane Found In Lough Erne

A seaplane dating back to the Second World War has been discovered at the bottom of Lough Erne.

The Catalina aircraft was found close to a former RAF base at Castle Archdale, which operated as a flying boat base providing air-cover for Atlantic convoys.

The area was initially surveyed in 2018 by the Charts Special Interest Group (CSIG) ahead of sonar surveys to assess the site and confirm the identification of the remains.

Experts believe the location may be a crash site and a potential war grave. The plane is therefore protected under the Protection of Military Remains Act (PMRA) 1986, meaning it is an offence to tamper with, damage, move or unearth any remains without a licence.
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Military aircraft crash sites may be recognised as archaeological sites. Rory McNeary, a Marine Archaeologist at the DAERA said there is a possibility of more discoveries in the lough.

He commented: "We are grateful to Robert Navan and Mike Kingston of CSIG, IWAI for bringing the remains of this Catalina to light. Had the site not been reported a unique underwater heritage asset would have been overlooked.

"Studying the seaplane will be of immense interest to professional and amateur historians alike. 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. I have no doubt that there are more exciting underwater archaeological discoveries to be made in Lough Erne."



(JG/CM)

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