Downed Short Stirling recently found

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oceanexploration
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Downed Short Stirling recently found

Post by oceanexploration » Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:45 pm

Hello all,

I am new here. The reason why I am here is I wanted to share with you the following story. You heard it here first. This will be in the news in the coming weeks.
Towards the end of the Second World War, a British Short Stirling heavy bomber en route to drop supplies to Norwegian resistance forces disappeared without a trace. The mystery now appears to be solved. In the late summer of 2012, I lead a survey across the North Sea as part of the ongoing North Sea Link project, a high voltage DC cable connection between Norway and the UK. Among a multitude of other findings, one seemingly insignificant target caught my attention. This target not only was unnoticed by others but looked remarkably unimportant to anyone else once I drew attention to it. I decided to check it out anyway. The weather was awful and the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) could not be deployed, despite the purpose built 55m survey vessel. We were headed in towards land to get out of harms way. The last thing anyone wanted to do was stop to check out a little junk on the seabed. Still, as client I had the final call, although this made me very unpopular at the time. We got to the site late in the evening and deployed a drop camera into stirred up murky water and frothing seas rimmed with white caps and into a chilling stiff wind. When reaching the bottom, there was virtually nothing evident. Then, out of the darkness came some small pieces of unidentifiable metallic debris which looked like aluminum. Then, some wiring and connectors, some engine parts, and finally a tail wheel of an aircraft. We hurriedly recovered the camera and ran to port to wait out the weather. Report of the finding went to the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU), then aerospace engineering and curator Birger Larsen of the Norwegian Aviation Museum and aviation historian Bengt Stangvik. He pointed out the characteristic hoop on the wheel indicates it could come from a British Short Stirling bomber. This also fit well with one of the other photographs, that show a cylinder from an air-cooled engine. This was consistent with NIKU and our thoughts as well.

In early 1944, the Short Stirling was phased out of bomber flights, but continued to play a major role as a glider tug and supply aircraft. It was as a supply aircraft that the Short Stirling mostly operated over Norway, from autumn 1944 to the end of the war.
“Several Stirlings disappeared without trace on missions to Norway in winter 1944-45. Based on the location of this wreck, it is probable that it was on a mission to drop supplies to the resistance forces in Western Norway. If this is the case, only one Stirling disappeared during these missions,” he explains.
“On the night of 30-31 March 1945, a Short Stirling Mk. IV PK225 (5G-Q) disappeared during supply drop operation ‘Stirrup 8’. Stirrup 8 was the code name for supply drops to the Norwegian resistance in South West Norway. Naturally, it could be one of the other Stirlings that were lost in operations to Norway, but the position of the wreck makes this less likely,” Stangvik says.

Short Stirling Mk. IV PK225 had a crew of six and the crew list is still on record.
“The plane wreck does not fall under the protection of the Cultural Heritage Act, but the wreck has a high preservation value as a war memorial,” Inge Lindblom of NIKU says.

Of the numerous wrecks and aircraft I have found over the years, it is relatively uncommon to find out the precise identity of the wreckage. I hope this find brings some closure to the families of the servicemen who bravely served, fought, and in this case died for their country and brothers in the sky. I am humbled by them.
"How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is clearly Ocean." -Arthur C. Clarke

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oceanexploration
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Re: Downed Short Stirling recently found

Post by oceanexploration » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:11 pm

Photographs:
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"How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is clearly Ocean." -Arthur C. Clarke

jamesinnewcastle
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Re: Downed Short Stirling recently found

Post by jamesinnewcastle » Tue Jan 24, 2017 10:13 pm

Hi

Some close ups of various Stirling rear wheels for reference.

However, I have an inkling that the wheel hoop wasn't on the MKIV and the tyre was not the usual toroidal (donut) shape but had two hard ridges, but I've not really studied the later marks.

I think that the aircraft shown below must be at least a MKIII as the radio altimeter aerial was something that would have been very useful for gardening giving a more precise height than the standard altimeters.



James
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Last edited by jamesinnewcastle on Tue Jan 24, 2017 10:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

jamesinnewcastle
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Re: Downed Short Stirling recently found

Post by jamesinnewcastle » Tue Jan 24, 2017 10:25 pm

A few more

James
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MKIII.jpg
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Rear UC General View small.jpg
Rear UC General View small.jpg (61.05 KiB) Viewed 666 times

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oceanexploration
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Re: Downed Short Stirling recently found

Post by oceanexploration » Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:14 pm

Impressive James! Thanks for sharing. According to the Norwegian historians, right or wrong, it is a Stirling Mk. IV PK225 (5G-Q) which disappeared during supply drop operation ‘Stirrup 8’. Stirrup 8 was the code name for supply drops to the Norwegian resistance in South West Norway. Short Stirling Mk. IV PK225 had a crew of six and the crew list is still on record.
"How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is clearly Ocean." -Arthur C. Clarke

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