The descendant of a survivor of the Bluestack aeroplane disaster paid an emotional visit to the site of the crash earlier this month.
Tom Gilchrist, the Grandson of the late Sqd. Ldr. Jim Gilchrist, hiked to the wreckage site to honour those who died in the crash in 1944.
On the night of the 31st January, 1944, an RAF Sunderland flying boat was returning from its German U-Boat patrols in the North Atlantic, when it lost its way in bad weather and crashed in the high Bluestacks, with the loss of seven lives. Five miraculously escaped the crash and the burning wreckage alive.
One of those survivors was Sqd. Ldr. Jim Gilchrist. He passed away in 2008, never getting the chance to pay a final trip to Donegal.
Jim’s grandson Tom, along with his partner Amber Simpson and his mother Lynne, were guided to the wreckage site on 3rd March by mountaineering guide John McGroary and members of the Bluestack Ramblers Walking Club. Twenty-six people in total made the trek.
A minute’s silence was observed in memory of those who died and those who survived. Tom read a message from his father Adrian thanking everyone involved in keeping the memory of his late father, alive and thanked all who were involved in placing a memorial at the site high up in the Bluestacks.
Jim’s son Adrian was also in Donegal but unable to participate in the hike. Adrian had made the same journey with family some time ago.
John McGroary said it was a ‘total privilege’ to accompany Tom and his family to the site this month.