It was a sunny day at Bromore Cliffs at Ballybunion, Ireland. This is the site of one of the two known memorials for the crash of the Flying Tiger 923, which occurred some 500 west of that point, on September 23, 1962. It was at night, during a vicious North Atlantic storm. Seventy six men, women and children were on board. Approximately 20 of the passengers were newly graduated combat paratroopers headed for their first assignments at bases in western Germany. Forty eight persons survived disaster. Twenty eight died in the ravages of the sea.
Local Bromore Cliffs community leader Mike Flahive created the memorial, totally on his own and on his own property where his cattle graze at the steep edges of the cliffs. The memorial garden is open to the public and attracts dozens of visitors daily, many of whom come from around the world to play golf at the famous Ballybunion golf course.
Views from the Cliffs
Flahive was inspired to dig into the details of the crash when at the age of 11, he looked out his bedroom window at the edge of the cliffs to see the giant Canadian aircraft carrier, Bonaventure, stopped no more than a football field distance away at the mouth of the Shannon River estuary. The ship was bringing in some of the dead and injured from the crash. The crash was widely publicized in Ireland and England while being virtually unnoticed by the United States news media.
Seen shaking hands are at left, Fred Caruso, one of the survivors who was evacuated by helicopter at Galley Head to Mercy Hospital in Cork City, Ireland, To the right is monument creator and memorial garden benefactor, Mike Flahive. The two were featured in a TV documentary entitled “Wild Atlantic Way” produced by well-known and popular RTE broadcaster, John Creedon.
Three visitors shown in the photo are Cowboy Hugh Broadus a cattle rancher from Colstrip, Montana; Fred Caruso of Eagle, Colorado and Glengarriff, County Cork, Ireland, and Margaret Ellen Caruso, his wife and sister of the Cowboy. The three were treated to a night in the cozy family cottage on the cliffs, from which Flahive saw the Canadian Aircraft Carrier on September 25, 1962. The Bromore Memorial site commemorates several shipwrecks and air crashes along the “Wild Atlantic Way” and features an original World War II observation sentry post. The site is open to the public daily.