World War II plane Crashes and search efforts for the missing crews/MIAs.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Mystery of Amelia EarhartHistoric Tours, German WW2 Pilots, WWII Flying Pilots, Aces, WWII Bomber Pilots, Crews, Nazi Memorabilia, WW2 Militaria.
Photos: World War II German Dornier Do-17 bomber raised from sea
A WWII German bomber, likely the last of its kind, has been raised from the bottom of the English Channel and will be restored for display in a British museum. The Royal Air Force shot down the Dornier Do-17 twin-engine medium bomber of the German Luftwaffe on August 26, 1940, during the Battle of Britain. It was one of 1,500 built by Germany and the last known to be in existence. Germany employed more than 400 Dornier 17s during the Battle of Britain, and 200 of those were lost. Most wrecks were melted down and recycled into making planes and armaments for Britain.
WWII crash site of a North American O-47 found during wildfire mission
Forest Service Capt. Tim Ritchey and his crew stumbled across the wreckage on a fire-swept night. Ritchey and his crew were on a mission to stop the Stafford wildland fire from consuming the community of Hayfork. The dark, steep terrain, illuminated by flames, did not stop Ritchey from scouting through the brush. There he saw an item that didn`t fit with the landscape. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Ritchey recognized the items as parts of an aircraft. There was a part bearing the serial number, which narrowed the search to two military aircraft: the Bell P-39 and the North American O-47. The vertical stabilizer and a .30-caliber machine gun cemented the find it was the strange O-47.
Search crew finds amphibious Grumman Duck plane encased in a glacier in Greenland
The Coast Guard said that a private team had located a WWII rescue plane that crashed on the coast of Greenland 70 years ago with three service members on board. The plane, a single-engine amphibious Grumman Duck, disappeared near Koge Bay, Greenland, during a snowstorm in November 1942. The Coast Guard said searchers had found the plane, which was carrying Lt. John Pritchard, Petty Officer First Class Benjamin Bottoms, both of the Coast Guard, and Cpl. Loren Howarth, of the Air Force, encased in a glacier. The discovery caps a 2-year joint effort between the Coast Guard and North South Polar Inc., which specializes in glacier searches for the military, aimed at finding the plane before the glacier moved out to sea.
Photos: FM-2 Wildcat fighter pulled from bottom of Lake Michigan
A WWII fighter plane was recovered from Lake Michigan after nearly 70 years with the hope that it will one day go on display. More than 100 people watched as crews strapped cables to the FM-2 Wildcat fighter that was submerged in some 200 feet of water and slowly pulled it out. The recovery was sponsored by the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation and paid for by Charles Greenhill, a 78-year-old pilot: "It's a pretty inspiring thing. You think you get used to it, but you don`t." Now that it is out, the plane will be sent to Greenhill`s hangar in Kenosha, Wisconsin, before being shipped off to the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida.
Michigan men unearth pieces of WWII-era P-38D Lightning downed in 1941
Four men have unearthed pieces of what they say is a WW2-era fighter plane that crashed 71 years ago in a southeastern Michigan farm field. Jim Clary, his brother, Ben - an 88-year-old WWII veteran - and two other men used metal detectors to make the find in St. Clair County`s Casco Township just east of Richmond. The recovered fragments are from a P-38D Lightning that was piloted by 2nd Lt. Al Voss, a native of Elgin, Ill., assigned to the 94th Pursuit Squadron stationed at Selfridge air base in Michigan. Voss was killed trying to parachute from the diving plane on Oct. 15, 1941.
WWII Lancaster bomber and its crewmen's remains discovered in German field
69 years after their burning plane plunged to the ground after being shot down by the Germans, the remains of 7 Lancaster Bomber crewmen have been recovered. They were discovered by a team of German historians who spent hours digging a muddy field near Frankfurt looking for the RAF crew after an eyewitness who saw the plane crash guided them to the site. Lancaster ED427 was one of 327 bombers that took part in a raid on the Skoda armaments works at Pilsen. On their return to their base at RAF Fiskerton, Lincs, they came under fire from German anti-aircraft flak.
World War II Spitfire crash remains recovered in Berwickshire
Authorities have begun a search for human remains at the site of a World War II Spitfire crash in the Borders. A group specialising in the excavation and recovery of WWII aircraft found human bones at Westruther near Greenlaw in Berwickshire. A Spitfire crashed in the area in 1943 and the 20-year-old pilot, Sgt Malcolm Robertson from the Royal New Zealand Air Force, was killed.
Heinkel He-115 recovered from fjord 70 years after it sank in 1942 (photos, video)
This is the moment a rare WWII German plane was raised from its saltwater grave virtually intact. The twin-engined Heinkel He-115 torpedo bomber was hoisted out of the water in a recovery operation in a fjord near Stavanger, Norway. Now there are hopes the plane will be restored to its former glory and may one day fly again despite it sinking 120ft down to the silty sea floor in 1942 after it was damaged during a botched water landing. The condition of the plane is considered to be remarkable, owing to it having lain in low-oxygen silt in a part of the fjord where currents are minimal.
Heinkel HE-219 night-fighter recovered in Denmark
Danish divers and the Aviation History Society (DFS) of Denmark have recovered a rare WW2 German night-fighter off the northern Jutland peninsula and are to restore the aircraft. The only known other full example of the aircraft is said to be in the US, where it was taken following the war after it was confiscated by US Army Intelligence Service. One of the more advanced aircraft to be built during WWII, it was the first military aircraft in the world to be equipped with ejection seats and was equipped with an effective VHF intercept radar designed to seek out allied bombers. It is also said to be one of the first operational aircraft with cockpit pressurization.
Il-2 Sturmovik aircraft salvaged from the bottom of a lake in Russia (photos)
Il-2 Sturmovik aircraft salvaged from the bottom of lake Krivoye in Russia (article includes photographs).
Mystery of missing U.S. WWII pilot downed over South Pacific island jungle solved after 31 years of research
The mystery of how a U.S. WWII fighter pilot met his end after crashing in a South Pacific island jungle has been revealed - after 31 years of research. Lt Moszek Murray Zanger was believed to have been shot and killed immediately after being captured by the Japanese after his 4,000ft parachuting out of his Corsair over Rabaul, Papua New Guinea. But an investigation has discovered he was in fact beaten, tried to flee in a dinghy and was captured by a Japanese Navy patrol boat. He was then kept chained inside a hut for 6 months, before being killed and buried near an airstrip. Henry Sakaida, researching the air combat incident, became fascinated with the case and persevered for 31 years to find the truth.
Well preserved Kittyhawk P-40 fighter found in Sahara, shedding light on pilot's fate
He was hundreds of miles from civilisation, lost in the desert. WWII Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping took what little he could from the RAF Kittyhawk he had crash-landed, then wandered into the emptiness. From that day in June 1942 the mystery of what happened to him was lost in the sands of time. But 70 years later, the remains of his battered but almost perfectly preserved plane has been discovered. Now a search is to begin for the airman's remains - as aviation experts and historians begin an operation to recover the P-40 aircraft. The chance find was made by an oil worker exploring a remote region of the Western Desert in Egypt - 200 miles from the nearest town.
Germany and Poland try to salvage a WWII plane which dived into an icy lake carrying 70 kids
One March day in the last weeks of World War II, more than 70 German children squeezed into a plane designed for 14 hoping to be flown to safety from the advancing Soviet tanks in north-eastern Nazi Germany. Minutes after takeoff the plane dived into an icy lake, killing everyone on board. Nearly 70 years later, former war foes Germany and Poland are joining forces to try to raise the wreck from Resko Przymorskie in western Poland. The water in the lake, close to the Baltic Sea, may have dissolved the bodies but mud may have protected the plane and some DNA evidence could be intact.
Malaysian jungle adventurers have located crash sites of 30 WWII aircraft
They trek for days through crocodile-infested swamps and mountain jungles, but the members of the Malaya Historical Group are not seeking treasure or ancient artefacts. Instead, they're after rusty wreckage. Over the past decade, the six amateur Malaysian military historians have helped locate the crash sites of 30 WWII aircraft. 70 years after the end of the war, at least 100 British and American aircraft wrecks are scattered across the jungles of India, Thailand and Malaysia. "What we do is to find whichever wrecks are in Malaysia and help identify them so that relatives can get closure," says the group's leader Shaharom Ahmad.
Debris of crashed Wordl War II US C-47B plane found in Tripura, India
Fragments of a US military aircraft, used during the Second World War, have been recovered in northern Tripura, India. "After more than 66 years of being considered unrecoverable by many, the remnants of an American aircraft, C-47B, which crashed during World War II, were recovered by a team of 34th Battalion of the Assam Rifles last week in northern Tripura," an army official told. The remains of the aircraft were found at the remote tribal village of Birmani Para in the Dhalai district in northern Tripura, 125 km north of state capital Agartala.
Mystery of downed WWII-era Curtiss SB2C Helldiver partially solved
The mystery surrounding a downed World War II-era plane found at the bottom of the ocean has been partially solved. The aircraft, upside down and mostly intact, is indeed a Curtiss SB2C Helldiver as originally suspected, said Randy Jordan, the diver who discovered the plane while diving at a depth of about 185 feet four miles off Jupiter. According to the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, D.C., there were 3 crashes off the coast of Florida in Sept. 1944 in which the planes were either lost at sea or missing.
Spitfire to be raised from Glenshinney bog, Moneydarragh, on the Inishowen peninsula
A Spitfire fighter aircraft that crashed in a Co Donegal bog during WWII is to be excavated. The British fighter was piloted by an American who parachuted from the aircraft before it ditched at Glenshinney bog, Moneydarragh, on the Inishowen peninsula in 1941. The pilot, Roland Wolf, was held for two years at the Curragh detention camp amid a diplomatic row between the Irish and British governments. Locals are preparing themselves for the operation - involving the Defence Forces, the Garda, archaeologists and haulage lorries - which is being undertaken as part of a BBC programme. The fighter was carrying up to 7 Browning machine guns when it crashed.
Amateur historian paves way for POW/MIA Accounting Command mission to Micronesia
Patrick Ranfranz has spent 20 years and $100,000 searching for the WW2 bomber that was carrying his uncle was shot down by the Japanese off the coast of Yap, a tiny island in the western Pacific. Driven by his family connection, Ranfranz began researching the ill-fated B-24 Coleman Crew as an anthropology major in college in the 1980s. He's made 5 trips to Yap since 2005, but to no avail. However, his decades-long pursuit has gotten a boost from the U.S. military: The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command has now traveled to Yap for the first time.
WWII-era P-51D Mustang found buried in mud on the outskirts of Bangkok in Thailand
Wreckage of a U.S. World War II combat aircraft, a P-51D Mustang, has been discovered in Pathum Thani province on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand. The plane was shot down during the Second World War as it was dropping bombs at a military camp in Don Muang in then Japanese-allied Thailand. The owner of the land discovered the wreckage and alerted Thai Air Force officials who plan to display the remains in the Thai Air Force museum in Bangkok.
Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II (Excerpt)
Several years ago, journalist Mitchell Zuckoff came across an article about a WWII plane crash in New Guinea that had all the elements of a great story: There was a crash in a harsh landscape, three survivors, a hidden valley inhabited by up to 120,000 tribesmen living basically a Stone Age existence, and a heroic rescue mission. After the crash the survivors - Army lieutenant John McCollom, Cpl. Margaret Hastings of the Women's Army Corp and Sergeant Kenneth Decker - took on a trek in search of a clearing, only to encounter the residents of the valley - rumored to be cannibals and headhunters.
A very rare WWII aircraft - Douglas TBD Devastator - located in the waters off San Diego
A very rare WWII torpedo bomber - Douglas TBD Devastator - has been located in the waters off San Diego. The National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida, hopes to collect enough funds ($300,000) to raise the plane, which crash landed during a training flight in 1941.
Douglas TBD Devastator was a torpedo bomber ordered by the U.S. Navy in the 1930s. By the time the Second World War began, Devastator was an outdated design: being too slow and too difficult to maneuver it was a sitting duck for modern fighters. Nevertheless, Douglas TBD Devastators saw action in the battle of Midway in 1942. Their attack against the Japanese aircraft carriers did not yield any direct results - in fact most of the Devastators were shot down - but the attack nonetheless disturbed the Japanese plan of action. After the battle Devastators were removed from the front-line service and none survive today.
History buffs campaigning to raise WWII flying boat - Sunderland T9044 - in Pembroke Dock, Wales
The Pembroke Dock Flying Boat Centre - dedicated to preserving Wales' "flying boat" tradition - is campaigning to salvage the Sunderland T9044 which sank during a gale when it was mooring at the Pembroke Dock (the largest flying boat base in the world).
WWII Corsair fighter airplane recovered from Lake Michigan (photos, video)
A specialized team salvaged an early model F4U-1 Corsair fighter airplane from Lake Michigan, almost 70 years after Navy pilot Carl H. Johnson missed a signal officer's warning to slow down while landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS Wolverine.
Rare German Dornier Do 17 bomber found in Kent seabed to be raised for museum display
A German Dornier Do 17 bomber - found on a sandbank 70 years after it was shot down during the Battle of Britain - is to be raised. The twin-engined Dornier 17 first emerged from Goodwin Sands 2 years ago. Since then, the RAF Museum has worked with Wessex Archaeology to do a full survey of the wreck site before the plane is recovered and exhibited as part of the Battle of Britain Beacon project. The aircraft - known as a Flying Pencil because of its sleek design - was part of a Luftwaffe group which planned to attack airfields in Essex on August 26, 1940 but was stopped by RAF fighters.
WWII SB2C Helldiver lifted from California reservoir (including photos and video)
As the bent prop of the Helldiver bomber emerged from Lower Otay Reservoir, two F-18 Navy jets flew over the lake. Coincidence or tribute? No one was sure. The SB2C-4 Helldiver, which crashed into Lower Otay on May 28, 1945, was being recovered in front of hundreds of people, including TV crews and amateur photographers. "Oh man, look at that big old engine and tail," said Richard Frazar. His father, E.D. Frazar, ditched the Helldiver into Lower Otay after the engine on the plane - called "The Beast" - failed. Frazar and Army Sgt. Joseph Metz survived the crash, hitchhiking back to their base at Ream Field.
Gerald Landry found his cousin's B24 wreckage in Adriatic Sea after a 27-year-search
Gerald Landry spent 27 years seeking the bomber pilot shot down by the Luftwaffe in 1944. Now items from the wreckage in the Adriatic Sea near Croatia could confirm the death of First Lt Russell Landry. His plane - the Tulsamerican, identified by he control panel serial number - was part of an 800-strong Allied force sent to bomb oil refineries in Blechhammer and Odertal in Nazi Germany. Unfortunately Luftwaffe fighters supporting the Wehrmacht at the Battle of the Bulge staved off the attack, shooting down 22 planes in 10 minutes. The badly damaged Tulsamerican crashed into the Adriatic while trying to return to Italy.
Remains of 7 US servicemen - crew of a C47A Skytrain - identified in Burma
The remains of 7 WW2 servicemen has been identified by The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office. The cargo plane (C47A Skytrain) crashed in Burma on May 23, 1944. The plane's data plate was found in 2002 by a missionary, and in 2003 and 2004 a team from the military dug up the plane crash site. --- Air Force Tech. Sgt. Clarence Frantz of Tyrone, Pa. -- Capt. Joseph M. Olbinski of Chicago. -- 1st Lt. Joseph J. Auld of Floral Park, N.Y. -- 1st Lt. Robert M. Anderson of Millen, Ga. -- Pfc. Richard M. Dawson of Haynesville, Va. -- Pvt. Robert L. Crane of Sacramento, Calif. -- Pvt. Fred G. Fagan of Piedmont, Ala.
Lockheed P38 Lightning emerges from sand in a Welsh beach
A rare World War II fighter plane has been hidden under the the sands since it crashed off the coast of Wales in 1942. Described as "one of the most important WWII finds in recent history", the location of the Lockheed P38 Lightning has been kept a secret to keep the relic safe. Known as the Maid of Harlech the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) fighter crashed on the Gwynedd coast during a training exercise. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery - planning to retrieve the wreckage - are looking for support and a British museum who will showcase the American machine.
German archaeology student discovered downed Lancaster bomber with a metal detector
The remains of a WWII pilot and his Lancaster bomber which dived into woodland have been discovered in a small German village. For John Tutt - who served in an anti-tank unit from 1941-1946 - it is the end of decades of searching for his brother, Sgt Bernard Frederick Tutt. 11 years ago he sent a letter to the Burgermeister of Brandau, a small village 22 miles south east of Frankfurt, never getting a reply until: "Then out of the blue... a young German archaeology student called Felix Klingenbeck wrote to me... [telling] how he had been out with his metal detector and found parts of the plane."
A WWII-era wreck off South Maui identified as an SBC-2 Helldiver (pictures)
A World War II-era wreck off South Maui - at first thought to be an SBD Dauntless dive bomber - has been identified as an SBC-2 Helldiver. It was ditched in Maalaea Bay on a training flight by U.S. Navy lieutenant William E. Dill in 1944. Maritime archaeologist Hans Van Tilburg said the aircraft was a rare find, not only because the wreck was well preserved, but also because there are very few Helldivers left in existence. "I'm definitely impressed. It's remarkably intact. I've seen a number of aircraft like this, and this one is very intact. That makes it very special."
Crash site of a WWII U.S. Navy Curtiss SB2C Helldiver discovered in a forest along the Oregon Coast (photos)
A World War II-era U.S. Navy plane has been located in a forest along the Oregon Coast. Loggers made the discovery - a wing, tail section, landing gear and debris from the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver - near Rockaway Beach. The debris field was scattered on over 200 yards. Investigators were looking into whether the SB2C Helldiver - a dive bomber aircraft made for the United States Navy - crashed on a military mission or was later bought by someone prior to the crash. The Joint Prisoner of War / Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) is also investigating pending any human remains are found.
Remains of a World War II Japanese plane and pilot discovered in Bataan
The wreckage of a WWII Japanese bomber plane and the skeletal remains of its pilot who engaged in a dogfight with an American aviator has been found accidentally in Bataan. The remains of Sgt. Toshishada Kurusawa and the wreckage of his Tora-Tora plane were discovered by a team of Stone/Kurusawa, a joint American and Japanese expedition led by Spike Nasmyth who started the expedition project "Great Discovery" in 2006. The group was seeking the remains of American pilot 2nd Lt. Earl Stone who perished in the dogfight with the Japanese plane on February 9, 1942.
Maui scuba tour operator finds wreckage of a U.S. Navy dive bomber (Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless)
The war plane sits on the ocean floor south of Maui in less than 100 feet deep. Even covered by coral and rust it's an amazing site. "A local fisherman happened to come into the shop and mention that he was trying to catch some fish under the wings of a plane. I'm like, 'What plane?' ... Right now all the indications are it leans to a plane that was lost in 1945," said Brad Varney, a Maui scuba tour operator and a history buff. He said the plane seems to be a World War II U.S. Navy dive bomber - The Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless. The plane is off the beaten path, that may explain why it's gone undiscovered.
World War II F6F3 Hellcat fighter recovered from Lake Michigan [video]
A historic war plane was pulled from the Lake Michigan as the Navy recovered a WW2 F6F3 Hellcat fighter plane. This is the latest in a series of historic recoveries from the lake. For the first time in 60 years, the F6F3 Hellcat fighter is seeing the light of the day. Hunter Browley, whose grandfather Lieutenant Walter Elcock piloted the plane in 1945 when it sank, was given the honor of sitting in the cockpit. The fighter was at the bottom of Lake Michigan in 250 feet but was still well preserved. Hundreds of Hellcats crashed during WW2 training runs - this one will be put on display at the National Aviation Museum.
P-47 remains, discovered by a fisherman, excite Italian aviation buffs
It doesn't look like much: casual observers might be hard-pressed to figure out it used to be a plane. But on closer inspection, the wings and cockpit can be identified: P-47 Thunderbolt. Italian aviation enthusiasts hope to id the aircraft and the pilot - and restore the aircraft. At least three P-47s are known to have fallen into the northern Adriatic during the war. No human remains were found with the wreckage.
Defense Department team seeks American bomber show down at the start of the Battle of the Bulge
At the start of the Battle of the Bulge, an American bomber was shot down by German fighters and crashed, nose-first, in a field. The pilot's body was never found. Recently a 10-member team from Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command was in the same field, searching for a trace of the airman. The group had excavated shreds of a parachute and part of a leather glove when one of the forensic anthropologists, Allysha Powanda Winburn, found a clue: a small piece of human bone. The new focus on World War II comes after years of focus to Vietnam War. Now time is running out in Europe where many odler witnesses and local historians, crucial for locating crash sites, are perishing.
American P-38 fighter plane found on beach in Wales
65 years after it crash-landed on a beach in Wales, a nearly intact American P-38 fighter plane has emerged from the sand where it was buried - a World War II relic long forgotten by the U.S. government and unknown to the British public. Recently the P38 re-emerged due to unusual conditions that caused the sands to shift. The Lockheed "Lightning" fighter, with its twin-boom design, has raised interest in British aviation circles and aircraft museums. "The fighter is arguably the oldest P-38 in existence. The difficult part is to keep such a dramatic discovery secret. Looting of historic wrecks... is a major problem," Ric Gillespie, of TIGHAR, said.
Who has right to World War II plane wrecks - Yukon vs salvager brothers (Article no longer available from the original source)
At the height of WWII when an American bomber plane, en route to defending Alaska, crashed in the Yukon. The nose of the B-26 Marauder ended up at the bottom of Watson Lake, where it sat for over 60 years - until two brothers from Alberta dragged it up. But the warbird is caught in a power struggle between Brian and John Jasman who say they have rightfully salvaged it, and the territorial government that says the plane is its to keep (because the brothers excavated without a permit under the Yukon Territory's Historic Resources Act). The legal battle that follows could decide if wrecks fall under federal shipping laws, or territorial heritage laws.
300 WWII military airplanes went to the bottom of Lake Michigan
About 300 military airplanes went to the bottom of Lake Michigan during the Second World War in training accidents and mechanical malfunctions, informs the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla. The U.S. Navy's underwater aircraft recovery program has salvaged 39 since 1990. A Douglas SBD Dauntless, one of several types of aircraft the American Navy used to defeat the Japanese navy at the Battle of Midway, was raised recently from a depth of 300 feet. The lake's conditions (a combination of cold water and lack of sunlight) are great for preserving wrecks, and officials knew even before they lifted it that the Dauntless would be in "pristine" condition.
Recovered WWII B-25 bomber causing stir in Watson Lake
WWII artifacts, including a pile of vintage 500-pound bombs and the nose section of an American B-25 bomber, have surfaced in Watson Lake, igniting a conflict between the Yukon government and the couple that salvaged the wreck from a lake. The B-25 bomber, part of an Allied training fleet, is thought to have rolled off an airport runway in 1944, ending up in the lake. The Yukon's Department of Tourism and Culture officials say the couple had no right to go treasure hunting for the bomber plane, and it's not theirs to keep. "These assets are part of the Yukon's heritage and we manage them under the Historic Resources Act," said Jeff Hunston.
WW2 fighter pilot is reunited with the Spitfire he was downed in 1943
A fighter pilot downed over France in 1943 has been re-united with his Spitfire. Piotr Kuryllowicz was serving with the RAF in 1943 when he bailed out of his Spitfire Mk IX over the Somme after an attack by a Luftwaffe fighter. The plane lay buried 6 metres deep until it was dug up in 2005 by French enthusiasts. Some of its original skin was intact, like the squadron insignia and markings, which helped to trace Kuryllowicz. "I looked over my shoulder and could see someone firing at me, I think it was a Focke Wulf or a Me-109. I thought they were too far away to do any damage, the next thing I know I could hear someone on the radio saying Kuryllowicz is on fire."
Robert Greinert finds and restores wrecked WWII airplanes for collectors
To the US military, Carter Lutes, a pilot who disappeared in Papua New Guinea in 1944, is one of the lost WWII heroes. The Pentagon still hopes to recover him. Until then, it regards his crash site a sacred place - and the last known clue. Yet while the military was making plans to search for Lutes's remains, other visitors arrived on the site seeking Lutes's aircraft - a P-47D Thunderbolt, a sought-after model in the booming market for authentic World War II planes. Driven by US collectors, interest in such warbirds has grown into a phenomenon that rivals the real estate boom, according to interviews with collectors, aircraft restorers and museum curators.
A WW2 RAF veteran reunites with the Hampden bomber he was shot down in
George Shepherd had a close call when the Handley Page Hampden torpedo bomber was shot down by Nazi fighters in 1942. 3 of his crew were shot dead by aircraft fire, causing the plane to crash land before its destination, Murmansk. He avoided injury and escaped - running for 32 hours before being caught by German forces. He was later forced on the Nazi death march before being rescued by the allies in Nazi Germany. The wreckage of the twin-engined plane was recovered by the Russians. Now the plane, one of just 2 thought to have survived, is being restored at the RAF Museum in Cosford. "When I was invited to see it, it brought back so many memories."
Identified World War II British bomber crewman to be laid to rest in Berlin
A crewman of a British WW2 bomber shot down over Third Reich in 1944, whose remains were id'ed with DNA testing, will be laid to rest in Berlin. Sergeant John Bremner, one of 4 crewmen killed when Luftwaffe ace Leopold Fellerer downed their Halifax bomber on Jan. 20, 1944, will be buried with full military honours at the Berlin War Cemetery. Attending the ceremony will be navigator Reg Wilson and rear gunner John Bushell, two of the 4 other crewmembers of "Old Flo" who jumped to safety moments before the aircraft crashed. The wreckage of the bomber and Bremner's remains were only discovered in 2006 after Wilson traveled back to Germany to launch a search.
Military aviation took off in the days of WWII - Thousads died in California (Article no longer available from the original source)
The coming of World War II ignited a push to churn out planes and pilots in the early 1940s. Lured by vacant flat land and calm weather, the U.S. military set up dozens of bases and fields around California. Would-be aviators flooded the state to learn how to handle planes. But many never made it overseas: they were lost to training missions across the rugged Sierra Nevada. No one knows exactly how many World War II aviators crashed and died in the Sierra's 400-mile area. Anthony J. Mireles, author of "Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents in the United States, 1941-1945," reckons 2,200 fatalities in California.
P-51 fighter pilot's Howard C. Enoch remains identified in Germany
The body of a Second World War fighter pilot who was shot down 63 years ago have been found and identified in Germany. Second Lt. Howard C. "Cliff" Enoch Jr. will be laid to rest with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. Enoch, a P-51 fighter pilot with the Air Force's 368th Fighter Squadron, died on March 19, 1945, when he crashed after engaging a German Messerschmitt Me-110 fighter. Evidently both planes went down in flames. The crash site became part of the Soviet zone after the war, preventing recovery of any remains by the U.S. military's Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command.
Seeking Cuban gold, divers find B-26 Marauder wreckage from 1942
Before fleeing Cuba on Jan. 1, 1959, the tales go, Cuban dictator Fulgencia Batista looted the national treasury and loaded the gold onto 4 B-26s. Only 3 of them reached Tampa, the fourth crashed into the Gulf. So when Tim Wicburg found the top-turret twin .50-caliber machine guns and the wing of a B-26 - he wasn't thinking about WWII. His team spent a week looking for Batista's treasure. Finally finding the plane's serial number, 117966. The team sent it to Ted Darcy of WFI Research Group, whose databases have records of lost World War II aircraft. Result: It was a B-26 lost on Nov. 16, 1942, on a training mission.
U.S. searches for missing World War II pilots
Allan Harrison - who in less than 2 years in uniform earned the Distinguished Flying Cross - was tailing Japanese Zeros, when his fighter began its dive into the jungles of New Guinea. Now all that is visible is rusted Pratt & Whitney engine. Army Major George Eyster, head of a U.S. recovery team, examines the site and makes an assessment of what might have happened: the plane broke up, possibly exploded, before it hit the ground. The 6-week search for the remains of Harrison and another pilot Marion McCown, is part of an effort to locate some of the 78,000 WWII service members still unaccounted.
Remains of doomed WWII B-24 aircrew found, identified
The remains of 9 U.S. airmen missing in action since a World War Two mission over Nazi Germany, have been identified and will be returned for burial. The B-24 crew took off from North Pickenham, England, on July 7, 1944, to bomb a German aircraft factory near Bernburg. The plane was last seen by other crews in the target area. Captured records showed that it crashed near Westeregeln. Paul Arnett, a historian and the son of a pilot for the same bomber group, said the 492nd was known as the "hard-luck group" and the 9 men were known as the "hard-luck crew" because they often returned battered from their missions.
Workmen dig up WWII Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless Dive bomber
Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless wreckage found in a Pajaro farm field in July is that of a Navy dive bomber that crashed on Jan. 14, 1944. The plane's wreckage was unearthed by workers digging a pipeline trench on farmland along Trafton Road near the Pajaro River levee east of Highway 1. Workmen discovered metal fragments, cartridge casings with headstamps dated 1942, a scorched parachute and other items buried 6 feet deep. Further excavation has turned up more plane parts and bone fragments. 1-page accident report by the Navy states that Ens. Delbert Crammer Goodspeed, with Aviation Radioman 2nd Class Robert Henry Paulson aboard, took off at 7 a.m. that day.
Glacier hikers stumble upon remains believed to be WWII airman's
Hikers have discovered the remains of a man believed to be a missing World War II airman atop a Sierra Nevada glacier - a high alpine region of Kings Canyon National Park. They were located about 100 feet from where climbers spotted the ice-entombed body of another WWII-era airman in 2005. Military anthropologists will analyze the body, which could correspond to one of 3 men flying with Mustonen when AT-7 plane disappeared after takeoff from a Sacramento airfield on Nov. 18th, 1942. A blizzard may have caused the crash that killed Mustonen, pilot William Gamber and aviation Cadets John Mortenson and Ernest Munn.
Remains of Bf 109 Flying Ace Sgt. Maximilian Volke Recovered
Researchers has located the remains and plane of a German ace Flight Sgt. Maximilian Volke - a Munich-born pilot credited with shooting down 37 planes - shot down during World War II. They also discovered some personal effects, including the dog tag and good luck charms the pilot carried into combat. Searchers located the plane after narrowing their area based on information from state archives and eyewitness accounts of the ace's final air battle in 1944, said Leo Venieri, president of Romagna Air Finders, a group that scours for signs of missing WWII pilots. Volke's Messerschmitt Bf 109 was dug out of a farmer's field north of Modena.
German farmer wants cash for bodies of Lancaster bomber crew
A German farmer Horst Bender is refusing to allow British families to recover the remains of crew members of a Lancaster bomber shot down during World War II unless they pay him 7,500 euros. The families of the crew are furious at the farmer's demands - and refusing to pay. They say that the farmer must not be allowed to make a profit from allowing them to give their dead relatives a proper burial with full military honours. One described his demands as "shockingly greedy and insensitive". 4 British airmen and 2 Canadians were in the Lancaster MK1 bomber shot down over Nazi Germany. The bomber, marked EM-J with serial number PD216, was part of 207 squadron.
World War II U.S. Airman's Body Found in Hungary among B24 wreck
The remains of a U.S. Staff Sgt. Martin F. Troy, whose B-24H "Liberator" bomber was shot down over Hungary in WWII, have been recovered from wreckage left unexcavated in a rural area in Nemesvita for 63 years. The recovery was carried out by the U.S. military's Hawaii-based Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), which ids and recovers American soldiers killed around the world. Tens of thousands of people from some two dozen countries were killed in Hungary, invaded by Nazi Germany in 1944. The country was then under communist rule and would not have allowed an American military team in to search the crash site.
Wreckage of Imperial Japanese Army fighter found on Luzon Island
The wreckage of a World War II Imperial Japanese Army fighter plane that crashed was found by an American group in the Bataan Peninsula on Luzon Island in the Philippines. The group's members include people with connections to the pilot of a U.S. fighter plane that is believed to have crashed nearby. Judging from the model of the aircraft engine, it is believed that pilot was Toshisada Kurosawa, a sergeant in the 50th regiment of the army's aviation unit. War historian Kan Sugahara, who cooperated in the examination of the wreckage, is searching for Kurosawa's bereaved family.
WWII Mosquito fighter-bomber rises from the mud
Milton Keynes: The remains of a crashed de Havilland Mosquito World War II fighter-bomber have been discovered. Among the wreckage was one of the plane's Rolls-Royce Merlin engines, guns and ammunition. The wooden fuselage had rotted away. The RAF team identified the aircraft as being from No 51 Operational Training Unit which had been based at RAF Cranfield in Bedfordshire. It took off on its ill-fated night flight on 14 January 1945. Pilot Warrant Officer Gavin Harvie and navigator Sergeant Martin Sydney Card discovered that some of the Mosquito's equipment was malfunctioning and radioed a distress call just minutes into the flight.
US explorers, armed with metal detectors, discover WW2 wreck in Burma jungle (Article no longer available from the original source)
3 amateur explorers from the U.S. have uncovered the wreckage of a downed American World War II plane in the jungles of northern Burma. Brenda Davidson, Nancy Nenow and Don Morley heard rumours of the aircraft from tribesmen on previous trips, and set off from the town of Hkamti armed with metal detectors on Jan 13. They found the wreck, which included parts of the plane's pumps, generator and landing gear, after trekking 13 days. "We didn't find the fuselage, so we could not guess what type of plane it was." Because the wreck was too heavy to carry away, they photographed it and wrote down a brand name found on a pump.
Historians find Canadian Second World War Halifax bomber
Historians have recovered a Royal Air Force Halifax bomber from the Second World War and some of the remains of its Canadian and British crew, a find yielding treasures for a Warsaw museum. The badly-damaged hull of the bomber from the 148 Squadron RAF, documents and some human remains were found buried under a field near Dabrowa Tarnowska. The Halifax JP-276A took off on its flight with a crew of five Canadians and two Britons from Brindisi on Aug. 4, 1944. Canadian pilot Capt. Blynn was leading the mission to drop weapons to the Polish underground as the Warsaw ghetto uprising raged.
World War II B-24D bomber found in Mojave Desert (Article no longer available from the original source)
An aviation archaeologist discovered the lost wreckage of a World War II bomber in the middle of the Mojave Desert. A military recovery mission is underway with the discovery of decades-old bones. "It's very, very... it's an emotional experience," said U.S. Marines Captain George Murphy. On April 09, 1944, a B-24D Bomber went down during a training mission just southwest of the then Mojave Marine Corps Air Station. The command setup shop over a month ago and has carefully unearthed personal artifacts like zippers and dog tags.
The Search for World War II Planes Continues
World War II may have ended six decades ago, but leftovers from the conflict can be found everywhere -- if you're looking. One German group does just that. As head of the Search Group for the Missing (Arbeitsgruppe Vermisstenforschung), Uwe Benkel and his team of volunteers scour the country to find and excavate the thousands of fighter planes which crashed in Germany during WWII. They recover the remains of the pilots and provide them a proper funeral. In the process, Benkel has healed many a scar -- both within families and across continents.