Fly the Corridor!

UPDATE: January 1, 2013: The ArchAngel Institute did not make it. Like many who utilized the Irish Donegal Corridor, the Institute is a casualty of Kulturkampf.

This does not close the Donegal Corridor, for the Corridor existed before the ArchAngel Institute . stay tuned for details.
The following is from the historic records of both Corridors.

(this page published on May 31, 2007)
What is the Donegal Corridor?
First it is a chapter in Irish history that was written during WWII.
Second it now is a chapter in the history of Fort Waynes former abortion clinic at 827 Webster Street, written over the past thrity years.

The holding company that has purchased the building at 827 Webster Street was formed in March as the Donegal Corridor, LLC, a result of research in February-March of 2007. This moniker then made it into the press in Fort Wayne, thanks to an interested News-Sentinel reporter.

Just as Irelands Donegal Corridor was a path through formerly hostile high places serving to advance the Allied cause, Webster Street’s Donegal Corridor is a device by which a formerly hostile “high place” can be redeemed to advance the Culture of Life.
In the original Irish Donegal Corridor, the vehicles delivered through the Corridor were flying boats.
In the Donegal Corridor on Webster Street the vehicle being delivered is the ArchAngel Institute.
We can hallow this rich history while making history.
AAIs Vision: A rebirth of Christian chivalry advancing the Culture of Life.
AAIs Purpose: To advance the Culture of Life through commemoration, communication and litigation.


It appears that the Donegal Corridor is also receiving some focus across the pond … this from an Irish Newspaper one month before our May 19, 2007 Dedication service at 827 Webster Street …

Plaques mark secret wartime air corridor in Donegal By Anita Guidera Thursday April 19 2007

Yesterday, granite memorial plaques were erected in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, and across the border four miles away in Belleek, Co Fermanagh, to publicly acknowledge for the first time the passage of flying boats along the Donegal Corridor to the Atlantic from their bases on Lough Erne.

In 1940, when flying boat bases were first established in Lough Erne, aircraft going on patrol to the mid-Atlantic had to fly north until they reached the coast at Derry. They then flew westwards to protect shipping convoys bringing essential supplies from America to Britain.

Their range was limited, as was the range of planes flying from America. Consequently, there was an unprotected section of ocean known as the Black Gap where U-boats could operate free from detection.

But in January 1941 this changed after hush-hush talks between de Valera and Sir John led to Sunderland and Catalina flying boats being permitted to fly from Lough Erne across the portion of the Free State, as the Republic was then known, between Belleek and Ballyshannon. This meant the planes could extend their range by over 100 miles and cover a large portion of the Black Gap.

The first official flight along the four-mile Donegal Corridor took place on February 21, 1941. A total of 320 men died in 41 missions involving Erne-based flying boats.

The plaques carry identical inscriptions commemorating airmen and seamen from America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain and Ireland who flew along the corridor.

The Ballyshannon memorial was unveiled by local man Sean Slevin who recalled pulling bodies from wrecks at nearby Abbeylands and Tullan Strand when he was a wartime member of the LDF. - Anita Guidera

On inquiry: Ireland’s role in World War II the concept of feigned or biased neutrality.

There is no better example in recent history of feigned or biased neutrality in war than the original Donegal Corridor.

My research began with the leading living authority on the concept, Joe OLoughlin a historian from Belleek, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Island. He has published a discussion of the Corridor on the internet that he has dubbed Voices of the Donegal Corridor. It is a presentation of the historic facts that gave birth to this flight path across the Irish Free Republic, followed by interviews with Allied airman and the Irish civilians who aided them.Two months ago, I tried to make email contact with Mr. O’Loughlin. The link failed. I recently discovered another link on the web, and asked him to review yesterday’s post on this blog. His response after reading it was as follows: “wow that was almost too profound for words. very sobering stuff.”

I am flattered and thankful to have made contact with this Irish historian. All that follows in green is from his research on the Corridor:
It is not common knowledge that during World War Two the Government of the then Irish free State allowed the allied aircraft based at Fermanagh to fly over their neutral territory direct to patrol the Atlantic.

The Donegal Corridor and Irish Neutrality during World War Two when the decision was made to use Lough Erne as a base for flying boats to patrol the Atlantic the planes had first to fly north, then go around the coast of Donegal so as to avoid any infringement of the neutral Free State territory, before going on their way out into the Atlantic to provide protection to shipping convoys against the German U-Boats. Planes from Canada and the U.S. after it entered the war, could offer protection for a considerable distance eastwards, the Lough Erne planes could fly a like distance westwards. There was still a large portion of un – protected ocean known as “The Black Gap”. A meeting took place between the Irish and British Governments on January 21st 1941. There can be no doubt but that Churchill was fully aware of this meeting. The result was that permission was given by the deValera led government for the planes from Lough Erne to fly across that short portion of Free State territory from Belleek to Ballyshannon. This flight path became known as “The Donegal Corridor”, the boundaries of this path were clearly defined, as was the height that planes would fly. They were not permitted to fly over the Irish Army Camp at Finner. For the benefit of the Germans and to preserve the neutrality the purpose of the flights was supposed to be for air/sea rescue exercises. This agreement meant that the un-protected gap in mid Atlantic was reduced by at least 100 miles. The Catalina and Sunderland flying boats had a range of almost 2,000 miles for a return journey and could stay airborne for almost 20 hours. Thousands of patrols were flown from Lough Erne along the Corridor, at least nine U-Boats were confirmed sunk, many more damaged, thousands of tons of shipping saved. From 1939 until 1941 before the Lough Erne bases were set up, the U-Boat packs had sunk 1017 allied supply ships.

Navigational markings are still, faintly, visible on mountains, such as Slieve League. There were many unfortunate crashes into these mountains. The bodies of dead airmen were handed over at the border. At the border the Guard of Honour performed a drill with reversed arms, a Bugler sounded the Last Post and a Chaplain gave a Blessing. An Allied officer, embarrassed that the coffins journeys were being continued in open lorries, thanked the Irish for the honour. The reply was: Ours is the honour, but yours is the glory.

The fine Irish historian who penned the above is now my new friend, Joe OLoughlin.