WW2 Canadian Bomber to be Recovered off Swedish Coast

 Handley Page Halifax. Source: Wikipedia/ Public Domain
Handley Page Halifax. Source: Wikipedia/ Public Domain

Four years ago, a Canadian Halifax HR871 was discovered on the bottom of the sea off the coast of southern Sweden near Falsterbo. It had been there since 1943, when its crew abandoned it during bad weather while on a raid into Nazi territory.

Next week, Swedish and Canadian divers will begin an operation to recover the plane. The Swedish Coast and Sea Center (SCSC), Lund University researchers, Trelleborg Port Authority, and members of the Canadain Halifax 57 Rescue group will begin the operation to recover the plane on August 16th. If the weather does not cooperate, the backup dates for the project are August 23rd-24th.

Following recovery, the parts will be transported to the harbor in Trelleborg for cleaning and preservation.

Jan Christensen is an underwater photographer and member of the SCSC. He said he expects that the team will find even more parts buried under the sand.

Approximately 11,000 Canadians were killed flying about 28,000 bombing raids over Nazi Germany. After the war had ended, the Halifax bombers that survived the war were melted down and used for construction materials. There is only one Halifax bomber in existence today. It was rebuilt using parts from other bombers that crashed in Norway and Belgium.

The Bomber Museum Command of Canada, a non-profit organization which is funded by donations, intends to build another bomber. The Swedish government approved the operation earlier this year.

“There’s been a lot of stories written about this in Canadian media, there’s a lot of interest,” Christensen told The Local in April. “It’s really exciting. It’s great that we’re allowed to dig through history like this.”

This particular plane had been hit by lightning while on a mission in Nazi Germany. Two of the four engines stopped working. The crew tried to fly the plane north and try to get to Sweden rather than crashing behind enemy lines.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE