Early on the morning of 12th April 1928, a small plane took off from Baldonnell Aerodrome outside Dublin. On board were two Germans- Baron Gunther Von Hunefeld and Captain Hermann Koehl , and a Portlaoise man, James Fitzmaurice. They were attempting to cross the Atlantic from East to West, a feat often attempted but never successfully until then.
On 13th April after 36 hours in the air, the Junkers W33 plane, named the Bremen, landed on Greenly Island near Newfoundland, eventually grabbing headlines on both sides of the Atlantic for weeks.
We will commemorate the 90th Anniversary of this event in Portlaoise on 12th April with a wreath laying at Fitzmaurice Place at 7pm. All are welcome to attend this event, at which details will be announced of further commemorations planned for later this year. Partner celebrations will take place at Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnell, where James Fitzmaurice was Officer in Command, and also in Bremen where the original plane now resides, in a specially built museum.
Our commemorations are part of European Year of Cultural Heritage, and will involve exchange visits between historians and aviation enthusiasts in Ireland and Germany, and an exhibition on Fitzmaurice and the flight at the Dunamaise Arts Centre later in the year.