County Monaghan: WW2 plane wreckage removed from field

P-38 Lightning aircraft Image copyright Hulton Archive/getty images
Image caption Archaeologists believe the aircraft was a P-38 twin-engine fighter

The remains of World War Two plane, which crashed in County Monaghan in December 1942, were dug out of the ground on Saturday.

The American pilot had bailed out, landing safely in Northern Ireland.

It was believed the Irish Army had removed the wreckage, but it was found by aviation historians and archaeologists earlier this year.

An RAF spitfire that crashed into a different County Monaghan field a month before was discovered in 2017.

Joining the aviations archaeologists in the field near Castleblayney were students from Londonderry's Foyle College and Ballybay Community College in County Monaghan.

Dig organiser Jonny McNee said the excavation had revealed the plane had crashed into the ground nose first.

Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Students from both sides of the border were involved in the dig

"We are working our way across in our trench finding parts of the engine, parts of the cockpit, and later on today we will do the remaining engine," he told Irish broadcaster RTÉ.

"It is very exciting and a tremendous opportunity for these school children.

"They are learning about World War Two and you can't learn about things like this from books, there's nothing better than doing history in the field rather than the classroom."

One student involved in the dig said it was interesting to "relate it back to what we are learning in school".

Image copyright RTÉ
Image caption Archaeologists believe the plane crashed into the ground nose first

The pilot was 22-year-old Lieutenant Milo Randall from Iowa.

He was on his way to the US base in Londonderry when he got lost, ran out of fuel and bailed out.

Lt Randal went on to fly in the Allies North Africa campaign. He died in 2006.

The wreckage will be displayed in Monaghan County Museum in its Spitfire Exhibition.

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