Colonel James Fitzmaurice

Internationally famous as co-pilot of the first successful East to West flight across the Atlantic Ocean, past pupil of Portlaoise CBS, James Fitzmaurice (1898 1965) was born on January 6th 1898. Son of a Prison Officer based in Portlaoise, the school records show his enrolment as a pupil in St Mary's CBS on January 9th 1905.



A monument to Colonel Fitzmaurice was unveiled in his hometown of Portlaoise in 2001. On the 45th Anniversary of the flight, 12th April 1973, a commemorative plaque was unveiled by the Taoiseach, Mr. Liam Cosgrave, at Casement Aerodrome. The inscription reads:


"The first non-stop East to West flight across the Atlantic by Captain Hermankohl, Colonel James Fitzmaurice, Officer Commanding the Air Corps, and Baron Von Huenfeld in the Junkers W33 aircraft 'Bremen,' took off from Baldonnel on 12th April 1928. The beginning of the take-off is marked 20yds West. The granite marker shows the outline of a monoplane and the words 'Bremen 1928.' Truly a magnificent achievement by Captain Hermankohl, Colonel James Fitzmaurice and Baron Von Heunfeld. A landmark in the history of aviation and an achievement which demanded outstanding courage and determination and one worthy to be remembered with pride by present and future generations."

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