Home News In Pictures: Portlaoise pilot commemorated for historic flight

In Pictures: Portlaoise pilot commemorated for historic flight

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Portlaoise airman Colonel James Fitzmaurice has been commemorated yet again for his legendary east to west crossing of the Atlantic.

The 90th Anniversary of the first-ever east to west Atlantic flight was commemorated with a wreath-laying ceremony at County Hall, Portlaoise.

A rare aircraft fly-past was performed in the skies above County Hall on Saturday October 6, at 11 am.

This was performed by members of the Irish Historic Flight Foundation.

It was led by a Chipmunk tandem, a two-seat, single-engine aircraft, and also three other planes including an Irish Air Corps aircraft.

Minister Charlie Flanagan performed the official opening of the weekend’s events, while a number of wreaths were laid at the foot at the bronze bust of Colonel Fitzmaurice, which was removed from County Hall for the occasion.

Members of the Irish Air Corps Post 27 UN Veterans, public representatives and officials from Laois County Council were also in attendance.

Speaking on the occasion, County Council Cathaoirleach John King said that he was delighted to welcome everyone to the event “to reflect on the achievement and sacrifices of the men who flew across the Atlantic from east to west for the first time 90 years ago this year.

“This is the European Year of Cultural Heritage and the theme of the year is Make a Connection.

“We can reflect on how appropriate it is that we celebrate an event and the three men who made a connection forever between Ireland and Germany and also cemented an important connection between Europe and North America.

“The scale of the achievements linking the two great continents for trade and friendship cannot be overstated.

“The first non-stop east to west flight across the Atlantic by Captain Herman Kohl, Colonel James Fitzmaurice, officer commanding the Air Corps and Baron Von Huenfeld in the Junkers W33 aircraft Bremen, which took off from Baldonnel Airport on Thursday 12 April 1928.”

While born in Dublin in 1898, James Micheal Christopher Fitzmaurice and his parents Micheal Fitzmaurice and Mary Agnes O’Riordan moved to Portlaoise where they were house in specifically-built accommodation for prison officers who worked in the adjacent Portlaoise Prison.

He went to school in St.Mary’s CBS. A stainless steel monument was erected in 2001 in his honor.

The monument depicted a wing of an aeroplane that was used on the flight. It was unveiled in Fitzmaurice Place, Portlaoise.

Due to renovations being made to that side of the town, the monument has recently been removed.

Check out Alf Harvey’s pictures below:

Brendon Deacy, artist and exhibition curator’ Catherine Casey, Laois Heritage officer; Minister Charles Flanagan TD and Michael Parsons, chairman of Laois Heritage at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Tim Costello, RTƒ; Cathaoirleach of LCC John King; Hans Rahmann; Teddy Fennelly, chairman of the Fitzmaurice Commemoration Committee and Alan Phelan, committee member at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
German visitors with Catherine Casey, Laois Heritage officer; Tim Costello, RTƒ; Cathaoirleach of LCC John King; Teddy Fennelly, chairman of the Fitzmaurice Commemoration Committee; Alan Phelan, committee member and Ralph James, former GOC Irish Air Corps at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Ralph James, former GOC Irish Air Corps; Michael Parsons, chairman Laois Heritage; Donal Brennan, Director of Services LCC and Catherine Casey, Laois Heritage officer at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Derek Bothwell and Paddy Judge, retired Aer Lingus Pilots at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Paul, Lorraine and Katie O’Shea at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Donal Brennan, Director of Services LCC with Teddy Fennelly, chairman of the Fitzmaurice Commemoration committee at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Brendon Deacy, artist and exhibition curator; Brig. Gen. Se‡n Clancy, GOC of the Irish Air Corps; and Cpl. Michael Whelan at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Brendon Deacy, artist and exhibition curator with his daughters Ciana, Kitty and Maggie at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Noel O’Brien, Chris Callaghan and Cathaoirleach of LCC John King at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Louise Fennelly Cahill, Eva, Emily and Bobby Cahill and John and Maureen Fennelly at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Cathal, Alan, Phyllis, Aoife and Aisling Phelan at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Ray Harte, Martin Finn, Jacek Jasiecki and Dominic Kessie at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald, Alan Phelan, committee member and Laois Heritage officer Catherine Casey at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Liam and Ann Dowling with Paddy Buggy at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
The Harpettes from Music Generation Laois performing at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Brendon Deacy, artist and exhibition curator’ at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
The Harpettes from Music Generation Laois performing at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
The Harpettes from Music Generation Laois performing at The Dunamaise Arts Centre for the opening of the ‘Fitz & the 1st East-to-West Atlantic Flight’ exhibition.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
The wreath laying at the Fitzmaurice Bust at County Hall, Portlaoise.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Watching on at the wreath laying at the Fitzmaurice Bust at County Hall, Portlaoise.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
The wreath laying at the Fitzmaurice Bust at County Hall, Portlaoise.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
UN veterans at the wreath laying at the Fitzmaurice Bust at County Hall, Portlaoise.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
The fly over during the wreath laying at the Fitzmaurice Bust at County Hall, Portlaoise.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Hans Rahmann at the wreath laying at the Fitzmaurice Bust at County Hall, Portlaoise.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Cathaoirleach of LCC John King at the wreath laying at the Fitzmaurice Bust at County Hall, Portlaoise.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
The fly over during the wreath laying at the Fitzmaurice Bust at County Hall, Portlaoise.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
The fly over during the wreath laying at the Fitzmaurice Bust at County Hall, Portlaoise.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
The wreath laying at the Fitzmaurice Bust at County Hall, Portlaoise.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Hans Rahmann with Teddy Fennelly at the wreath laying at the Fitzmaurice Bust at County Hall, Portlaoise.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Niall Carey speaking at the wreath laying at the Fitzmaurice Bust at County Hall, Portlaoise.
Picture: Alf Harvey.

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