Fishguard Bay Hotel, Fishguard: Goodwick Seaplanes

Goodwick, Fishguard, was the nerve-centre of an air operation to help rid the Irish Sea of the U-Boat menace.

A hastily erected collection of huts and canvas hangars held seaplanes that would scour the Welsh waters, both helping to protect merchant vessels sailing to and from Ireland and also hunting for tell-tale signs of U-Boats.

As the U-Boat war intensified, and Britain came perilously close to starvation, it became ever more important to find some means of opposing the stealthy submarine menace.

In early 1917 Goodwick became home to the Royal Flying Corps (Later the Royal Air Force), and a dozen or so planes were kept in a canvas and wood hangar.

Whilst the groundcrew were billeted in the village and in railway carriages, the officers were given somewhat more commodious quarters in the Fishguard Bay Hotel.

The airbase suffered its first casualty in April 1917, when Flight Lt. Bush was routinely testing his newly-overhauled Sopwith Baby.

On Sunday 22nd April, Bush started up the plane to test its newly fitted engine. Strangely, for a test flight, the plane was carrying two bombs.

The plane managed to take off head to wind, but failed to gain sufficient height to clear some power cables, and crashed into the hillside, catching fire.

Lieutenant Bush was fortunate to be pulled clear of the wreckage, and was taken to the Fishguard Bay Hotel, where it was thought he might recover.

Rather poignantly, the officer, who retained consciousness throughout his ordeal, was engaged to be married, and requested the local vicar to call the banns for his wedding.

Two days later, Bush took a turn for the worse and died.

Location: Fishguard Bay Hotel, Goodwick, Fishguard, SA64 0BT

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