Winter 2017 - DIGITAL

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Welcome to our Winter 2017/2018 issue. This issue highlights the work done by Royal Air Force Association (RAFA). The Royal Air Force (RAF) itself is soon approaching its 100th anniversary. Ireland and the RAF date back to those early days. In those early years there were several Royal Flying Corps, RAF and United States Navy stations around the country. The RAF presence in Northern Ireland remained prominent throughout Second World War and Cold War. Today the welfare of those who served in the RAF is provided by the RAFA. The branch in the Republic of Ireland is made of over 200 members. Several are veterans of the Second World War, including pilots who flew in the Battle of British and Coastal Command, ground personnel, and the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. It was a privilege to meet these men and women and to hear tales from a time that will soon be resigned to the history books.  Many of its other members served in various capacities throughout the Cold War and up to the present day. Veterans groups around the world are like a family. The RAFA are no different. Its volunteers make sure that those in need are cared for. In many cases this can be as simple as a house visit to someone who lives on their own. At other times it is remembering those who served. In this issue the RAFA Rep. of Ireland Branch’s standard Bearer, Frank Brien, gives an account of his time in the Royal Air Force Regiment.

To find out the full story of the RAF in Ireland you do not have to travel very far. In a hanger at Long Kesh in Lisburn is the largest private collection of aircraft on the island. The Ulster Aviation Society have 36 civilian and military aircraft in their collection. Made up of volunteers, this group of aviation historians are dedicated to the restoration, preservation and education of all things aviation. There you can see examples of the very aircraft which the veterans in the RAFA spoke to us about. A museum that should be on your tour list for 2018.

Several other articles also highlight Ireland and the RAF. Catherine Fleming writes about her uncle, Joseph ‘Joe’ Kiernan who left his home in Mullingar for a new career that would take him above the clouds of Nazi Germany. In Coming Down in the Drink the story of a fighting Goldfish Flight Lieutenant John Brennan by Seán Feast.

Other articles include a story by Pat Dargan on a Fort Shannon. An Emergency period coastal defence fortification that has all but been forgotten. Ian Loftus tells the story of Martin O’Meara VC, the Irish-Australian hero of the First World War, while, Kenneth L. Smith-Christmas, Lar Joye, and Commandant Stephen MacEoin tell the story of an Irish Army’s 18 pounder that ended up guarding a diner in Virginia, USA.

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ISSN (Print) 2009-8863
ISSN (Digital) 2009-8871
ISBN (Paperback) 978-0-9935771-0-9
ISBN (ebook/digital) 978-0-9935771-1-6