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Spitfire in a bog – message from the family

If you've been following our blog you’ll already have heard about the Spitfire found in a bog in Ireland. Johnny McNee, a long time supporter of the RAF Benevolent Fund, got permission to excavate the site and recover the Spitfire.

The Spitfire had been flown American pilot, Bud Wolfe. In previous posts Johnny has told how he identified the crash site in County Donegal and organised the excavation and recovery of the Spitfire.

Johnny traced the family in the US, and told them all about his finds. Pilot Officer Wolfe's family wrote this letter to Johnny, which they kindly allowed us to publish:

On behalf of Pilot Officer Roland Wolfe's family (daughters, sister, in-laws, nieces and nephews), all of whom have been touched by this archeological project and its amazing revelations, we send greetings and many thanks.

Pilot Officer Bud WolfeOur father spoke sparingly about his wartime experiences; nevertheless, his career in the RAF, his "comings and goings" from the Curragh, and his service in WWII shaped the demeanor, skills, and talents Dad carried forward throughout his life.

Now, 70 years after this story's inception, and 17 years after Dad's death, you offer us this occasion to learn more about his life and to honor our joined histories. 

From afar, we extend our gratitude and regard to individuals and communities. We take as our model the kindness and consideration shown us by Mr. Jonny McNee and all those who signed permissions, managed equipment, and laid respectful hands on the artifacts.

We appreciate this reweaving of one young American pilot's story, and the story of his family, with your stories and lives today, and with the larger history of nations at war.

Thank you for your witness and for your work. They allow our family this very special opportunity to also serve as witnesses. We anticipate a visit to Ireland in hopes of shaking a few hands, raising a few pints, and exploring the intriguing landscape of the forthcoming BBC documentary.

We know that Bud Wolfe did not attribute political or even historical significance to his military career, nor to his life experiences.

However, he loved flying and appreciated the Spitfire above all other aircraft he flew.  We feel certain that he would be stoically ecstatic to heft the tail wheel, lay hands on the propeller, tinker with the Rolls Royce engine, and maybe slip on the flying gear when no one was watching.

He would respect your efforts and salute them, as do we.


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