Thursday Doors – Derry Again

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I’m still in Derry for this week’s Thursday Doors and this was as high as I could go in the Tower Museum. The view from the rooftop is wonderful, with the River Foyle cutting through the city in the background.

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The exhibits inside are pretty good to look at, too. One of them was of a WW2 American fighter pilot’s flying helmet and medical kit bag.

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In 1941, twenty-three year old Roland ‘Bud’ Wolfe, from Nebraska, bailed out of his Spitfire when its Rolls Royce Merlin engine overheated. He survived both the crash and the second World War to fly in Korea and Vietnam. Wolfe died in Florida in 1994 at the age of 76. The plane, however, plunged into a peat bog in Derry’s neighbouring county, Donegal, where it lay twenty feet underground for seventy years. Following a number of failed attempts by others, the wreckage was discovered in 2011 by aviation historian, Jonny McNee, and his daughter, Grace.

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The Spitfire’s Engine.

This particular Spitfire was the first of 20 aircraft commissioned with a £100,000 donation from Canadian millionaire Willard Garfield Weston, during the Battle of Britain. Here’s what Mr. McNee had to say about his find; “This is the Holy Grail of Spitfires because of the tremendous history involved in it and the fact that it was the first Garfield Weston presentation plane. It has ‘Garfield Weston No 1’ written in 4-inch yellow letters down the side of the cockpit.” (All you aviation enthusiasts will understand the significance of this).

Another interesting exhibit at the museum is this cannon, from one of the ships of the Spanish Armada.

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This large bronze cannon from the ship, La Trinidad Valencera, is dated 1556 and bears King Philip of Spain’s coat of arms. It sits on a beautifully crafted replica gun carriage. An original wheel in the images below was found covered in solidified sand and silt. These siege cannons, with such enormous carriages and wheels, give evidence that the main intent of the Spanish Armada was for a land invasion rather than a naval conflict.

King Philip gave the restoration of England to Catholicism as his reason for the invasion in 1588, but commercial and political objectives played a large part in it. Spain’s interests in the New World were increasingly under attack by the English and needed protection.

Although it was one of the most ambitious military undertakings in history, the Spanish Armada was also one of the greatest failures. The ships were not only driven away by the English navy but were blown off course and scattered by strong gales. Many were wrecked off the coasts of Ireland and Scotland with a loss of one third of the vessels and two thirds of the men. With 42 guns, La Trinidad Valencera was the fourth largest ship in the Armada. She eventually reached Kinnegoe Bay, County Donegal, where she remained afloat for two days before breaking up and sinking, in September 1588. On 20th February 1971, she was discovered 150 metres offshore and 10 metres underwater by divers Archie Jack and Paddy Stewart, members of the City of Derry Sub-Aqua Club.

Most of La Trinidad Valenceria’s crew and soldiers got safely to shore. When they tried to negotiate an honourable surrender to the local militia, which was under English command, 300 of the 450 shipwrecked men were massacred. Sadly, only half of the 150 who escaped finally reached Spain.

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Thought I should end a Thursday Doors post with an image of a door – a red one, of course. 🙂 For some more doors of various shapes and colours, have a look at Norm’s blog and thanks so much for stopping by.

 

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About Jean Reinhardt

Author of 'A Pocket Full of Shells' an Amazon International best seller, Jean writes young adult and historical fiction. She has been known to shed a tear over Little House on the Prairie.
This entry was posted in Britian, castles and ruins, Historical buildings, Ireland, Thursday Doors, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Thursday Doors – Derry Again

  1. Joanne Sisco says:

    History is full of brutal stories like this one and the Spanish Armada has its own special lore. I didn’t know that they were equipped for a land invasion.
    I always find it interesting to see before and after photos of artifacts recovered from the sea. Often they are unrecognizable.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dan Antion says:

    Loving the history again, Jean, and that red door is the perfect way to finish. I love how it stands out against the white walls.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. joey says:

    That Spanish Armada sure did get around…
    Anyway, I sure like that red door. That scene is very appealing. Hand pump, topiary, horseshoe — all set for cute 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pistachios says:

    That view really is wonderful! That red door, though – so adorable, with its neatly trimmed potted plant, and water pump (?) (at first, I thought it was a letter box).

    Reading your info about the WW2 fighter pilot, and the Spanish Armada reminded me of why I used to study history – it’s just so fascinating. Makes me want to go find some good history books or documentaries!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jackie says:

    I flicked through my Derry doors the other day and didn’t seem to have any doors, will have another look.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jennie says:

    Terrific post, Jean. Loved the photos and all the history.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Vicky says:

    Lovely post, interesting (somewhat unknown for me) Armada history and a lovely red door too!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. msgt3227 says:

    I’m fascinated by the reclaimed Spitfire engine!!! Also think it is pretty cool that one of the discovers was named Grace! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. jesh stg says:

    Love the stone work in your first capture! Crazy how Wolfe survived several wars:) Love those kind of survival stories. Oh, I had forgotten about the Spanish Armada (since Holland had an 80 year was with Spain it was a big point in the history class). That gives me the hope England will more than survive what what just happened in Manchester.
    I know it’s not Ireland, but the Irish have even more survival power!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wolfe’s survival of so all those conflicts as a fighter pilot was probably due to a combination of skill and good luck. So many aircrew lost their lives just in WW2 alone.

      Like

  10. Jay says:

    Wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. sjhigbee says:

    Once more, another fascinating and informative post, Jean. Thank you for sharing:)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. JT Twissel says:

    It’s hard to imagine those old ships being able to stay afloat with all those cannons on them, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Mel & Suan says:

    Now that was not what we expected from Derry! But we did walk the walls though not the museum!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great history and some interesting artifacts in this week’s TD post. I like that red door at the end with the horseshoe. I have a horseshoe hanging over my front door for luck. I hung the first year we bought the house.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Norm 2.0 says:

    More fascinating history again this week Jean. You sure have a knack for finding Canadian connections in quite a few of your posts. We’re going to have to give you honorary citizenship soon 😉
    As usual I thoroughly enjoyed this and you squeezed in that lovely red door at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The strange thing is, Norm, that I’m not even looking for Canadian connections, they just keep popping up. My husband and I almost emigrated to Etobicoke, Ontario, where some friends were going to sponsor us. We even went to the Canadian embassy in Dublin and filled in the forms. It was before we were married in the early seventies and we chickened out last minute, we didn’t want to give up our jobs and sell our bike and have nothing to come back to if it didn’t work out. Just think, all our kids might have been born in Canada.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. sydspix says:

    Another interesting history blog! Enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

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