A big maybe at Maghaberry?

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Nocturna mors
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A big maybe at Maghaberry?

Post by Nocturna mors »

I was reading an article recently concerning a model a/c exhibition in Ireland at which, a former Stirling veteran attended. It concludes with an interesting statement by a Alan McKnight of Bombardier, Belfast Northern Ireland.
As Alan McKnight of Bombardier says, this did not detract from the Stirling’s role as a pioneer four engine bomber, but it ‘could have been a greater aircraft’. Nonetheless, 2,300 of them were built, of which 900 came from Belfast. All that survived the war also met their fate in Northern Ireland. As Eames ruefully recalls, once the war was over the disbanding of his squadron coincided with an operation in which Stirlings from all quarters were flown in to the airfield at Maghaberry and scrapped.
Quote http://www.culturenorthernireland.org/a ... r-memorial

....but, it got me thinking about when forum member Sue,.. aka Johnnys daughter, mentioned that her father had said that "some Stirlings had been buried under concrete in Ireland" Now I very much doubt whole Stirlings were buried but, is it possible that a substantial amount of Stirling air frame wreckage and parts were buried hastily at the end of the scrapping process? Is it possible that they lie buried at the former RAF Maghaberry? Were Stirlings scrapped anywhere else?
A big problem with "a dig" at former RAF Maghaberry is that, some of the airfield site is now a prison.

So how did the salvage crew dispose of all this remaining scrap metal and parts before the airfield was sold off. Would they have been buried in the existing airfield dump or a new hole dug followed by rubble on top?
Are there any existing aerial photographs of RAF Maghaberry during the period before and after the Stirlings were scrapped that we could scrutinise for evidence?
Source SAS forum
Source SAS forum
stirling-bombers.jpg (115.32 KiB) Viewed 9749 times
The Stirlings in the foreground are parked on the dispersal marked with an arrow on the map below. Note the two hangars in the distance in the photograph.
Source Airfield information Exchange
Source Airfield information Exchange
PNK-Maghaberry.jpg (68.86 KiB) Viewed 9740 times
Meanwhile, the busiest chapter in Maghaberry’s history had begun on 15th November 1943 when it was handed over to the USAAF to become AAF Station 239. Four ferrying squadrons of the 8th Air Force’s 27th Transport Group were formed there to deliver numerous types of aircraft to and from American airfields in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, including the air depot at Langford Lodge. In addition, it was used by casualty evacuation transports of the 9th Air Force’s Troop Carrier Command – a reflection of its proximity to the 79th Station Hospital at Moira. Although intensive in nature, this period of use was comparatively short-lived and Maghaberry was handed back to the RAF on 6th June 1944, by which time Stirling assembly work was diminishing. Six months later, as 101 Satellite Landing Ground, it was placed under the control of 23 Maintenance Unit at Aldergrove for storage and eventual scrapping of hundreds of redundant aircraft, including Stirlings, which process was completed in 1947.
Quote http://www.ulsteraviationsociety.org/#/ ... 4544801416


Hopefully if this Stirling treasure trove exists :?.....and its not beyond the realms of possibility!, the site has not been bulldozed into oblivion when they built the new jail!
Source Property News
Source Property News
Maghaberry Prison.jpg (190.58 KiB) Viewed 9731 times

Now all somebody has to do is convince Tony Robinson of Time team,............ to tunnel into or under HMP Maghaberry :o



Tom
"Rule Britannia two tanners make a bob,three make eighten pence and four two bob"!

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K4KittyCrew
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Re: A big maybe at Maghaberry?

Post by K4KittyCrew »

Tom, well done, mate. I think you should email these details and forum link toTony Robinson of Time team and tell him of that there are currently no known Short Stirling aircraft and the significance of such a 'find'.
Cheers,
John
K for Kitty Crew - Winthorpe, 1661 HCU's - stirlingaircraftsoc.raf38group.org/
630 Squadron - East Kirkby
" There is nothing glorious about war with the exception of those who served us so valiantly"

Nocturna mors
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Re: A big maybe at Maghaberry?

Post by Nocturna mors »

K4KittyCrew wrote: I think you should email these details and forum link toTony Robinson of Time team and tell him of that there are currently no known Short Stirling aircraft and the significance of such a 'find'.
The only problem John is we only have the word of a veteran and that's all. We will have to investigate this more before further action. A good way to start is to try and get hold of aerial photos of the airfiekd site prior to the 6th June 1944 when the base was returned to RAF control and post 1947 after 23 MU had finished scrapping the airframes. We may find evidence of ground disturbance ie: a new hole or an area covered with concrete or rubble. A popular spot for airfield dumps was at the ends of runways or off the peri tracks.

The image below is of the same Stirling bombers at RAF Maghaberry but, from a different angle.
Source Google images
Source Google images
RAF Maghaberry.jpg (163.59 KiB) Viewed 9707 times


Does anyone know where we could get hold of RAF aerial photographs of Maghaberry airfield from June 1944 onwards up to 1947/48?

Tom
"Rule Britannia two tanners make a bob,three make eighten pence and four two bob"!

MURF
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Re: A big maybe at Maghaberry?

Post by MURF »

HI All,
I cant see the pictures on this thread, is another link available?

My interest stems from working out of the Maghaberry Hangers from 2005.
The overhead crane in our unit still bears the 1943 makers nameplate. Sadly theres not much else relative to WW2 left, except the shed and some old out buildings.

some reading ref same

http://www.lisburn.com/books/as-it-was/as-it-was-3.html

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K4KittyCrew
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Re: A big maybe at Maghaberry?

Post by K4KittyCrew »

Sorry Murf, nearly all of Tom's images that he has posted seem to have been corrupted. I'm hoping that he can re post the images.
Bit by bit, I'm replacing images where I can.
Cheers,
John
K for Kitty Crew - Winthorpe, 1661 HCU's - stirlingaircraftsoc.raf38group.org/
630 Squadron - East Kirkby
" There is nothing glorious about war with the exception of those who served us so valiantly"

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Re: A big maybe at Maghaberry?

Post by Stirling Project »

Hi Murf

Welcome to the forum. Any chance of posting some pics of the few remaining buildings

John L

terrysmr2
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Re: A big maybe at Maghaberry?

Post by terrysmr2 »

Hi all sorry to drag up a old topic but i was hunting through the Internet looking for some info on the Maghaberry airfield after living on its out skirts for 43 years and also working in the old hangers and operating the old crane that has been mentioned. I also noticed the guys looking for the dump holes to try to excavate them i happen to know that the dumps happen to be at 2 old quarries which are close to the airfield but are now sadly filled in

jamesinnewcastle
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Re: A big maybe at Maghaberry?

Post by jamesinnewcastle »

Hi Terrysmr2

If there are Stirling parts down there they won't be going anywhere so perhaps later on.....

Any chance that you can note the position of the Quarries on a map?

Lat night I watched a woman using Infr-Red Spy satellite images to find pyramids - I have always wondered if it would work for buried aircraft!

Cheers
James

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