Midlands Airport at Horseleap

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kilo delta
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Post by kilo delta » Fri May 08, 2009 1:17 pm

Any idea of the a/c type? Might be worth hiring out a metal detector!! :lol:

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Fri May 08, 2009 1:56 pm

As aero knowledge anywhere in Ireland was minimal during this time, it is anyones guess. They had a few different a/c at the time, and this site suggests it was a short term landing strip rather than a base because it is not even mentioned.
http://www.military.ie/aircorps/history/index.htm

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Post by hugoj_air » Fri May 08, 2009 8:34 pm

Thanks Jim,

Very interesting, circa 1930's, 9 complete aircraft plus spares buried in the strip. kilo delta was wondering about the types. Well at that time the IAC
were getting rid of WW1 Bristol F2b Fighters, Avro 504K training aircraft,
deHavilland DH.9's, deHavilland DH60 Moth's and some other types. They
all have one thing in common, wood and fabric airframes. So they probably
would not have survived all that time buried, depending on the soil type. But any metal parts, such as engines etc might just fair a bit better.
During the 1930's the Aer Corps had many temporary landing strips dotted
all across the country. This probably was one of them. Most saw very little if any use.

The M6 isn't shown on maps yet. Is it north or south of the N6.

I wonder if your historian could help with another question about Athlone.
1918 saw the RAF set up a landing ground supposedly NE of the town
centre. I have been trying to pinpoint the exact location for a while now.
Any help would be greatfully received.

Hugo.

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Post by kilo delta » Fri May 08, 2009 10:07 pm

Very interesting reading gents. From what I've heard the RAF's 106sqn was briefly based in Athlone during 1918. They were equipped with RE8's similar to that pictured.

Image

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Post by Jim » Fri May 08, 2009 11:28 pm

@Hugo
The M6 isn't shown on maps yet. Is it north or south of the N6.

Actually it is! Google maps shows the M6 as N6, i guess this was done during the 2 Months opened before being upgraded.Looking at the Map you can clearly see the old N6 under it.


1918 saw the RAF set up a landing ground supposedly NE of the town
centre. I have been trying to pinpoint the exact location for a while now.
Any help would be greatfully received.

He said the "Royal Flying Corps" moved in but the "Royal Air Force" moved out!
They changed the name on April fools day :lol:
The supposed location of their strip today forms part of the N55. The straight from Dawsons Garage to the Mullingar turn.

@Kilo Delta
He said they set up here as a training ground in preparation for the bombing of Germany. The location was ideal because of the lake.
As it was long range bombing missions they were training for, my guess is they used the "Airco DH-4
Image
Performance Data of the Airco DH4
Type two-seater bomber
Engine 250 hp Rolls Royce
Wing Span 42 ft 4 in (12.92 m)
Length 30 ft 8 in (9.35 m)
Height 11 ft (3.35 m)
Maximum Speed 143 mph (230 kph)
Maximum Height 23,500 ft (7,163 m)
Endurance 6 hours 45 minutes
Armament 2-4 machine-guns, 460 lb (208 kg) bomb load

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Post by hugoj_air » Sat May 09, 2009 8:07 pm

kilo delta wrote:Very interesting reading gents. From what I've heard the RAF's 106sqn was briefly based in Athlone during 1918. They were equipped with RE8's


I have a detatched flight from 106sqn at Athlone from 01.1919 to 10.1919
equipped with Bristol F2b Fighters. The addition of RE8's is new to me.
Thanks for that Kilo Delta.

Hugo.

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Post by hugoj_air » Sat May 09, 2009 8:46 pm

Again Jim Thanks,
[quote="Jim"] Google maps shows the M6 as N6, i guess this was done during the 2 Months opened before being upgraded.Looking at the Map you can clearly see the old N6 under it.

According to GE maps the realigned N6/M6 cuts into the northern part of the fields that I think were used as the landing ground. it's about 150m
north of the old N6 at Ballydonagh.


He said the "Royal Flying Corps" moved in but the "Royal Air Force" moved out!
They changed the name on April fools day :lol:

All I had was 1918 and I wrongly assumed it was post RFC on 01.04.1918.
The supposed location of their strip today forms part of the N55. The straight from Dawsons Garage to the Mullingar turn.

OK, Dawsons Garage, I dont know where that is and would that be the old Mullingar turnoff before the junction was changed.
@Kilo Delta
He said they set up here as a training ground in preparation for the bombing of Germany. The location was ideal because of the lake.
As it was long range bombing missions they were training for, my guess is they used the "Airco DH-4"

Amazing information from your historian, Jim. I wonder does he /she have any more gems like that related to aviation in the Athlone area.
WW1 probably ended before the RAF could attempt raids of those proportions

Hugo.

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Post by Jim » Sat May 09, 2009 9:19 pm

@ kilo delta
From what I've heard the RAF's 106sqn was briefly based in Athlone during 1918. They were equipped with RE8's.


Not quite!
106 Sqn did not arrived in Athlone until January 1919.
Sites dotted around Ireland had been selected by Maj.Sholto Douglas during the early summer of 1917. These
were to house Training Depot Stations to facilitate the planned expansion of the Royal Flying Corps.
The 18th Sqn Royal Flying Corps arrived in Athlone February/March 1918 and established a bombing practice range on Lough Ree.
Then came the name change to Royal Air Force on 1st April 1918 and new Squadrons were formed up.
Athlone based RFC personnel were part of 55 Squadron which later formed part of the Independent Air Force.
On 30 May 1918 105 Squadron arrived at Omagh and 106 Squadron arrived at Fermoy.
Detachments of 106 Squadron were sent from Fermoy to Athlone and Oranmore between January and October 1919, to Birr
between August and September 1919, and again in October.

@hugo
The M6 custs through the 3rd field to the north, and there is now a lane through the strip which splits field 1&2 on the map. the southerly part of the strip is now the N6(The roadway was further back then)

Dawsons garage is long gone,20 Years maybe! i assumed you knew the area,Sorry for that!
They are presently assembling a new showroom on the site, not certain for whom. The original Mullingar turn was forther back and ran alongside the stream into Ballykieran, that strip ran a little past where the MG turn is today. Bullit road never existed there until the 50's.

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Post by kilo delta » Sun May 10, 2009 2:18 pm

Thanks for correcting me,Jim...you are spot on...106sqn were based in Athone from Jan-Oct 1919.

PS. Dawson's garage is now being transformed into Colm Quinn's BMW dealership.

Edit: Theres a brief history of 106 squadron here... http://www.crossandcockade.com/pdf/106.pdf .You'll need to have Adobe Acrobat installed in order to view it.

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Post by hugoj_air » Mon May 11, 2009 1:22 am

[quote="Jim@hugo
The M6 custs through the 3rd field to the north, and there is now a lane through the strip which splits field 1&2 on the map. the southerly part of the strip is now the N6(The roadway was further back then)

Dawsons garage is long gone,20 Years maybe! i assumed you knew the area,Sorry for that!
They are presently assembling a new showroom on the site, not certain for whom. The original Mullingar turn was forther back and ran alongside the stream into Ballykieran, that strip ran a little past where the MG turn is today. Bullit road never existed there until the 50's.[/quote]

I think I have it now Jim. Fields 1 & 2 just N of the old N6, with the track, are in the townland of Ballydonagh so probably where the landing ground was. The next fields N are in Glen townland.
The new N6 passes through part of the two fields. Is that right?.

KD wrote: Dawson's garage is now being transformed into Colm Quinn's BMW dealership.
Now thats what you must call bad timing!!
Still not sure of it's location though. There is what looks like a motor scrapyard beside the old MG turnoff on to the R390. Was that Dawson's.
Have you tried this yet Jim.
http://ims0.osiemaps.ie/website/publicviewer/main.aspx

Thanks Jim.
Regards,
Hugo.

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Post by kilo delta » Mon May 11, 2009 9:37 am

That scrapyard is Joe Devery's....the BMW dealer's is a few hundred mtrs west of that. :)

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Post by Jim » Mon May 11, 2009 8:53 pm

@hugo

Using your mapping .....

Dawsons Garage is 60.75.20
The strip ran from there to approx 74.33.50 close to where a couple of spring pins were found while excaviting the junction.

The road coming from Mullingar turned towards Ballykeeran after the Bridge.

The original road from Athlone went straight past Dawsons garage and over the hill into Ballykeeran.

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Post by hugoj_air » Tue May 12, 2009 1:19 am

Thanks Jim and Kilo Delta,

I do appreciate all your help with these two landing grounds. I had some
info on both, but now I know a lot more about them. I dont want to push
you both too hard, but just to confirm one or two points. First there is a slight conflict as to where Dawsons Garage is located. Jim you say it's on NE of the junction of the N55 and the R390 Mullingar road and KD, you place it further west. Not of major importance excpt, Jim, you say the LG ran from there eastward for about 800yds. Also Jim did the landing strip cross the R390 to the southern side of that road (before the road was there).

Hugo.

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Post by Jim » Tue May 12, 2009 2:05 am

Hugo.
open http://ims0.osiemaps.ie/website/publicviewer/main.aspx

Using the + zoom to 1:5000

Using the coordinates i gave above you will see this.......

Image

Sure, we dont mind providing info,glad to help.

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Post by hugoj_air » Tue May 12, 2009 11:08 am

WOW Jim!! Magic, as clear as day. Could not be clearer. Thank you
very much for being so patient. Both yourself and Kilo Delta. At long
last, in fact for almost 10 years now, I have been trying to find the
exact location of the RFC/RAF LG at Athlone.
In case you'er wondering, I'm attempting to build a database of
any and all sites around Ireland used for aviation of ANY discription
since the first manned balloon flight in Navan Apr 1784. To-date I've
managed to log over 1300 seperate locations and I would say almost
as many again waiting to be added to the list.
WHY!! is a question I'm sometimes asked. Well I obviously have
an interest in aviation. Put that together with an equal interest in
geography/maps and you have one answer. Another answer is that
I realised there was no comprehensive listing of such sites and a lot
of them would be lost forever if they are not recorded in some way
or other. So I would hope the database could become a foundation
of research into such locations in years to come. I know, a bit pompous
of me, but it keeps me busy and out of the pubs.
Again Thank You Jim and KD.

Hugo

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