The Honourable
The Irish Society

Committed to serving the community

Foyle College Aviation Team, Derry

Foyle College Aviation Team (FCAT) are a dedicated group of 16-17 year old aviation sleuths who are passionate about local WW2 aviation history.  The Team have participated in several licensed digs at aircraft crash sites across Ireland – some for ground-breaking television series, others for award-winning museum exhibitions.  Their latest is the biggest and most emotional yet, investigating the loss of RAF Coastal Command Bristol Beaufort AW 271 which crashed on 30 April 1942 near to its base at RAF Ballykelly and the three crew who died at the scene.  In addition to fund-raising for a trip to RAF Hendon to see the only surviving Beaufort in the UK, the Team hoped to undertake further licensed archaeological excavation to recover any wreckage that remains and preserve such artefacts for display in relevant museums – to educate, commemorate and inspire others.  Then, later in the year, the FCAT pupils hope to arrange a suitably Covid-secure commemoration event at the crash site, attended by the immediate relatives of the aircrew who live in England and Scotland.  The memorial will be dedicated to the crew of AW 271 and the wider service of Coastal Command during WW2.  They sought financial assistance for a number of items, including protective clothing and safety materials; cleaning equipment to get articles museum-ready; a memorial plaque and to help fund a post-dig commemorative event.  Both Aldermen Duddy and McClintock commented that this was a very unusual and refreshing application, particularly as it came from young people.  The Committee all agreed and awarded a grant of £1,000 towards the project.