Peat was used by the Vikings to make swords and cannon balls by the American revolutionaries. Today it is used by the Scots to make Whisky, the Irish to heat their homes and the Fins to make electricity. It is well know that peat is an excellent preserver of ancient Europeans bodies, but it turns out it is also a great preserver of firearms. The wreckage of a WWII Splitfire was recovered from a peat bog, along with its six well preserved Browning M1919 machine guns.
The BBC reports …
This was the place where, in 1941, Roland “Bud” Wolfe, an American pilot flying a British RAF Spitfire, paid for by a wealthy Canadian industrialist, had experienced engine failure while flying over the neutral Republic of Ireland.
After flying a sortie over the Atlantic, Wolfe was on his way back to his base in Northern Ireland when he was forced to bail out. He parachuted safely to the ground – his plane smashed into the boggy hillside.
Fast-forwarding 70 years and local aviation expert Johnny McNee was able to identify the wreck site. The ensuing dig was accompanied by intense anticipation.
We had hoped for one in reasonable condition – we got six, in great shape, with belts containing hundreds of gleaming .303 rounds. The Irish soldiers then stepped in. This was a cache of heavy weapons, however historic they might be.
You can watch a video at the BBC News website of the guns being recovered and fired.
[ Many thanks to Blake, Rolf, Eamonn & Alex for emailing me the link. ]