Salute to Dev

Letter to ‘The Catalina Society’, Crawley, West Sussex, England. 10thFebruary 1998.


“ Many people did not know throughout the war and to this day, may have no idea, that despite their neutrality the Eire Government, under Mr. deValera made a concession to the British whereby our aircraft based on Lough Erne could gain access to the Atlantic Ocean by over flying a corridor of their air space into the Bay of Donegal.


          Shortly after the German surrender in 1945 orders were given to 202 Squadron to acknowledge Mr. deValera’s favour’s to us by staging a fly past at low level over Bundoran where the Irish leader would take the salute himself. Thus probably for the first and only time in their history, 6 Catalina’s took off in quick succession, got into formation and waggled their wings at 500 feet as a tribute to the great man.


          This was very much ‘a one off’ performance and was totally un-rehearsed. Fortunately there were no mishaps and we all returned to base* none the worse for such an unusual flight.


          Former Flight Sergeant/Radio Operator/Air Gunner,

                                      D.L. Johnston, 29 Knockhavon Garden,

                                        St. Miniver, Waldbridge, Cornwall. PL27 6PJ.


* Base being  Killadeas Flying Boat Station, Lough Erne, Co. Fermanagh.