Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mahone's Hotel- A favorite then and now.

In the Church Of Ireland in Irvinestown, Northern Ireland the 423 Squadron crest is hung in tribute. Alongside are squadron insignia from other Royal Canadian, Royal Australian and Royal New Zealand Air Forces who called the region home during the Second World War. The ‘Donegal Corridor,’ located along Lough Erne and the Donegal Coast was a pivotal location during the Battle of the Atlantic and the airmen stationed there helped turn the tide on the war. 
The founding members of 423 hunted Nazi submarines from their Sunderland Flying Boats. They flew in fog and night, and in the wind and storms of the North Atlantic to protect the convoys that were supporting Allied efforts in the European theatre.  At the end of the war 423 and their sister squadron 422 would log over 44 000 hours and sink or damage eleven submarines. It would cost fifteen aircraft and 101 crew.
It has been sixty-six years since Castle Archdale was the home base of 423 Squadron. Although much has changed in the world, there are still young men and women who fly over the oceans to protect those in need. In March 2011, members of HMCS St John’s Helicopter Detachment from 423 Squadron visited Irvinestown and Castle Archdale to pay their respects and honor their common history.
Local historians Ms Breege McCusker and Mr. Joe O'Loughlin guided them through the sites. They walked the grounds of the former base and toured the shoreline where the Sunderlands were launched, recovered and maintained. They traveled to Irvinestown and had lunch at Mahone’s Hotel, a favorite 423 restaurant both then and now.
Mahone's Hotel.

Coastal Command’s efforts during the war have never fully been appreciated and yet had they failed, the world would have been a very different place today. In the cemetery at the Church of Ireland in Irvinestown lay some of Canada's best. They were young men who served their country far from home. Flying over foreign oceans, hunting and protecting. They were the founding members of 423 Squadron and their tradition continues. 
Somewhere off Ireland now


1 comment:

  1. Great post as always Chris. We hope the 423/St. John's crew enjoyed this visit, it looks like it was an amazing experience. We're going to share this with our followers on twitter later today. Keep up the great work on your blog, we love seeing your posts on our facebook page!

    Jessica Penney
    admin asst
    Shearwater Aviation Museum


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