Last June the British RAF Spitfire crashed by American pilot Roland ‘Bud’ Wolfe was painstakingly dug from the peat of Moneydarragh on the Inishowen Peninsula.
The exact site of the wreckage was located by local aviation expert Johnny McNee.
The recovery team found the plane’s tail almost fully intact along with log books, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and even pilot Wolfe’s helmet.
That in itself was a major achievement.
But then Irish army officer, Lt Colonel Dave Sexton suggested it might be a good idea to try to reassemble one of the Browning guns to fire it again.
Ordnance technical officer Sexton and his team set about taking pieces from six guns save from the spitfire.
And this week the team tested the gun o an old disused firing range outside Athlone.
The team had been helped by the perfect preservation of the spitfire and its guns.
The firing team also used modern bullets to cut down the chance that the older bullets would jam in the newly-oiled gun.
The gun has now been reunited with the Spitfire P8074 which is now housed at City of Derry Airport, where the plane’s RAF 133 (Eagle) squadron was based during the war
Mr Wolfe went on to serve in Korea and Vietnam, dying in 1994 as a retired lieutenant colonel.
His daughters Barbara Kucharczyk and Betty Wolfe have thanked all those who helped to recover their father’s plane.
The excavation of Bud Wolfe’s plane has been filmed and will be part of a BBC Northern Ireland series Dig WWII which will be presented next year by Dan Snow.Tags: