A POIGNANT Service of Thanksgiving was held at Castle Archdale Caravan Park on Sunday afternoon as part of a weekend of events celebrating 100 years of the RAF.

During World War II, various makes of flying boats, such as the Sunderland, Stranraer, Lerwick and Catalina, were launched from Lough Erne at Castle Archdale to protect Allied ship convoys on the Atlantic.

The air patrols from Castle Archdale, the headquarters of the RAF in Fermanagh, were responsible for sinking nine U-Boats.

They contributed significantly to the eventual success of the Royal Navy and RAF Coastal Command in controlling the Atlantic supply route and ending German dominance at sea.

In honour of the close links between the RAF and Castle Archdale, the caravan park hosted a special Centenary Weekend of Celebration.

Local clergymen, Monsignor Peter O’Reilly and Dean Kenny Hall, presided over the service of thanksgiving, which commemorated 100 years of the Royal Air Force and honoured the dedication of all who served at RAF Castle Archdale.

Readings were given by members of the Omagh RAF cadets.

This was followed by a tree planting and unveiling of a plaque by the High Sherriff of County Fermanagh John Maguire and Jason Mahon, of Castle Archdale Caravan Park.

A replica of a Spitfire WWII fighter plane, a ‘Green Goddess’ and an RAF Hillman Minx staff car were some of the other delights that were on display over the weekend.

The Ulster Aviation Society brought down its Spitfire and everyone was delighted to have the chance of getting their photograph taken in it with goggles and all.

D.Coy military vehicle enthusiasts had a number of vehicles with them, most notably the ‘Green Goddess’ fire engine.

They even put on a water display for the crowd, which also helped cool everyone down with the escaping spray!

The Ulster Military Vehicle Club also brought a variety of vehicles with them, including the Minx staff car and motorbike The Andrews sisters were brought back to life by The Swingtime Starlets, who performed some of the greatest wartime songs including the hit Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy which went down a real treat with the crowd!

Omagh RAF cadets showed their fieldcraft skills as well as supporting the service of thanksgiving.

Wartime Living History Association set up exhibits, dressed up in uniform and marched through the site, giving a sense of what it would have been like during the War.

Meanwhile, Norman Noble and Stephen Lawn provided lots of information to anyone who joined them on the guided walks.

A spokesperson for the organisers added: “This gave everyone a more in-depth knowledge to the history of RAF Castle Archdale!”