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Divers find WWII bomber off Swedish coast
A Halifax mark 3 bomber plane - not the plane mentioned in the article.

Divers find WWII bomber off Swedish coast

Published: 24 Jan 2012 07:41 GMT+01:00
Updated: 24 Jan 2012 07:41 GMT+01:00

Swedish divers have discovered what is believed to be the remains of a WWII Halifax bomber plane in the waters off the coast of southern Sweden.

“When we got down there we expected it to be a rock, but as we pulled off the seaweed we saw that it was metal parts,“ said diver Lasse Carlsson local paper City Malmö.

The discovery, which has been kept a secret since this summer, occurred during a university-funded expedition to explore the ocean environment in the region.

The coast guard registered objects on the seabed some 10 kilometres outside the Kämpinge bay. When the divers went in for a closer look, they discovered metal scrap parts spread over a 100-metre radius.

“It is a really interesting find. It is the first time in at least ten years that a plane with machine gun ammunition has been found in Swedish waters,” said research engineer Kjell Andersson to the paper.

The discovery has been kept a secret since the divers came across the wrecked aircraft during the summer.

Not only did the researchers fear that hobby divers might tamper with the historical remains but the site was potentially very dangerous until the Swedish military had destroyed the live ammunition still contained in the plane.

“The ammunition could be very dangerous,” said Andersson.

Swedish military divers have now assessed the site, taking photographs of the find to decide whether the ammunition should be brought to the surface or destroyed on site.

It is impossible to know for certain, but the metal scrap is believed to be the remains of a plane recorded going down in the area on August 3rd, 1943.

According to the City Malmö paper, the plane was struck by lightning and, having lost two of its four engines, the seven man strong crew decided to ditch the plane and take their chances in neutral Sweden.

After bailing over Skåne County, all the men survived. Regional history has it that the pilot, reportedly last to leave the plane, landed on a cow in a nearby field.

After questioning a six months internment, the crew was returned to the UK.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:34 January 24, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
A plane that near to Sweden with bomb bays filled with bombs?

Maybe they were on their way to a surprise attack to bomb a Swedish ball bearing factory, in order to put a dent in German wartime production.
11:16 January 24, 2012 by caradoc
It is sad that sweden in many regards has such a negative history during WW2. But it is easy as a British person to feel superior to other nations that did little against the menace that was the nazi threat.

We were attacked of course and our armed forces and civilian population did what we could.

But after living in Holland for many years and after hearing about the destruction of Roterdam and the threat by the germans to destroy Amsterdam i can sympathise with those countries that had no chance against the destuctive force of the attackers.

We in Britain were helped by that stretch of water that surounded us ,luck, and the sacrifice of so many.
12:07 January 24, 2012 by Central European
Well one european country have even been sold by Mr Chamberlain to III.Reich in 1938.

But we never stop thanks to GB who was 2 ears alone in fight with the second most evil regime in history .......
12:30 January 24, 2012 by Kevin Harris
Stricken allied planes over northern Germany often diverted to neutral Sweden. At the beginning of the war, the Swedes kept them "prisoner" in accordance with the Geneva Convention. Later, when it was clear who was going to win, the Swedes allowed them to "escape", if they wanted to. By then, many allied flyers had Swedish girlfriends and chose to stay.

R and R, the bombs were either dropped on Germany, or in the sea. Those heavy things are the first to go if a plane loses an engine or two. Only the machine gun ammunition was still on board.
12:37 January 24, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
... oops my error in post 1. After more careful reading I see that it is only dangerous machine gun ammuniction, and not 'dangerous munitions', in the plane. So probably returning from a bombing run on shipping in Kiel, or something on the North German coast, and therefore not likely to be on a secret mission to bomb a Swedish factory.

Still 6 months seems a bit lengthy for an interrogation by a supposedly neutral country. Then again these aviators did not likely to want a speedy return home. The British and American bombing crews suffered the highest fatality rates of all military servicemen on the Allied side, and this already lethal rate was even higher for the British, who took on the daytime raids.
13:15 January 24, 2012 by Dave N
R & R - Wrong again. The RAF flew night-time raids. It was the USAAF who flew in the day-time.

BTW - There is a fantastic BBC recording of a nightingale singing its heart out against a backdrop of the noise of a thousand Halifax bombers flying overhead on their way to Germany. Makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up!
13:36 January 24, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ Dave N

I did not double check the day/night responsibilities so I presume you are correct.

@ Kevin Harris

Was writing at the same time you were. Am surprised by your detail that 'stricken planes often diverted to Neutral Sweden'. According to the strict rules of neutrality, the Swedes actually shot down a German fighter plane that had drifted into northern Swedish airspace from the Narvik area (an incident that I saw described in great detail in the Narvik war musuem, and which no one ever mentions).

In principle allied bombers could then have been shot down according to the same rules if entering Swedish airspace, so ditching one's plane in the Baltic (after jumping out with parachutes over Swedish land) might have been a better bet.

Then again the rules of neutrality may not have been applied evenly to the allies and Germans. If you have a link to substantiate that stricken allied bombers often landed in Sweden please share.
14:00 January 24, 2012 by byke
@Kevin Harris

In regards to British airmen being held prisoners under the Geneva convention.

That's quite strange considering Sweden gave German soldiers free passage through Sweden (permittenttrafik)

Even the German 163rd infantry division was transported allong with their tanks and anti aircraft weapons through Sweden and used the Swedish railway system to do such. (en route to Finland)

Makes you question exactly, how divided or neutral Sweden was even in the summer of 1941.
15:24 January 24, 2012 by Polish-Finnish Swede
Might be of interest:

http://gmic.co.uk/index.php/topic/32257-english-pilots-in-sweden-1940/

According to the air force museum in Luleå 327 foreign aircraft landed, crashed or were shot down in Sweden during WW2. Most planes were from the US and UK, some from Germany and also from Finland and Poland. It was difficult for Swedish J21 fighters to approach damaged allied bombers making it for Sweden because the J21 looked like an 80% copy of the German FW190
15:49 January 24, 2012 by azimov
I feel sorry for the cow.
15:54 January 24, 2012 by Polish-Finnish Swede
Sorry, meant the J22

Maybe the cow got a medal for saving the pilot
16:38 January 24, 2012 by millionmileman
This is a fascinating story, especially for all involved. This was a Halifax which was to the RAF like what the B-24 was to the 8th Air Force stationed in Britain. The Lancasters and B-17s received much of the glory whereas the other were not as famous but did their missions with the same dreaded danger.

In fact more Canadian airmen perished in the Halifax that any other plane. Because more were assigned to this bomber and it was vulnerable at night because of the glowing exhausts being visible to German night-fighters.

The date of the aircraft's downing was just two weeks or so before the massive raid by the RAF on Peenemünde, on the German Baltic coast. This was the largest RAF raid so far in the War. Some 596 bombers including 218 Halifaxes pounded the rocket facilities which was so vital to delay the development of these deadly weapons.

The greatest restored Halifax is on display today at the National air Force Museum of Canada. It crashed into a 700 ft deep lake in Norway in April 1945 and was taken back to Canada for restoration

http://www.williammaloney.com/Aviation/RCAFRoyalCanadianAirForceMuseum/HandleyPageHalifax/index.htm

For the numerous allied airmen who sought sanctuary in Sweden they were treated well and much better than Switzerland. Sweden being guilty for being neutral is unwarranted. The Royal Navy sent patrol boats to Göteborg on Thursdays to pick up ball bearings from SKF.

The RAF landed in Sweden (secretly) to retrieve a special map reading, scale sensing devices, that were smuggled into Sweden from Switzerland. This was part of the 3-D photo reconnaissance program developed for the Allies that enabled them to to see 3-D photos shown objects in relief like V-1 and V-2 rockets.
16:55 January 24, 2012 by Kevin Harris
To a wounded Lancaster, Halifax or B17 over north Germany, a left turn to Sweden was an attractive option. Certainly better than a forced landing in Germany and a stalag for the rest of the war, or a splashdown in the North Sea. Swedish pilots generally were hospitable to these limping leviathons, guiding them in when they could, and providing comforts (cigs and vodka) to their incarcerated colleagues. The Swedish airforce acquired hundreds of state of the art aircraft, and much useful technology into the bargain.

Being a "prisoner" of the Swedes was not a stressfull experience for allied airman; good food, light duties, and parole. Banging Ingrid must have been considerably more fun than bombing Hamburg; and a good deal safer. Developing engine trouble over Kiel and landing in Sweden became such an attractive alternative to an innevitible fiery death, the US airforce began to view these Swedish emergency landings with much suspicion.

Byke, in 1941, Sweden was neutral in name only. These modern persecutors of the Queen conveniently forget their own ancestors were a bunch on Nazi stooges, and hate anything that reminds them they were.
19:55 January 24, 2012 by rohermoker
I donot think that 70 year old ammunition that has been underwater would be of much use to anyone. It is good that they do check if any bombs are still onboard before sport divers are allowed to visit. any old ordanance will draw those who may not know how to or be responsable to be trusted with such a find.
19:56 January 24, 2012 by McChatter
Thank you for your last posting, Kevin Harris. After January 1943 (Stalingrad), Sweden suddenly changed sides. Instead of being up to that time pro-Hitler (see King Gustav V and premier Albin Hanson (read it all in the book "En svensk tiger"), Sweden changed sides and became pro-Allied. To the extent that in May 1945 Sweden wanted to invade Denmark and "liberate" it! Another thing Swedes don't want to talk about is their own concentration camps. Read "Svenska koncentrationsläger i Tredje Rikets skugga". Gives you a completely different view to Sweden's position before, during and after WWII. But I have to admit: a great piece of PR work on the part of the Swedes that has lasted for an awful long time. Too long in my opinion.
22:43 January 24, 2012 by sunnchilde
If A bomber was in trouble, the first thing they would do is jettison their bomb load before they tried any emergency landings. Getting on the ground doesn't mean a whole lot if you go BOOM when you get there. They may have even jettisoned excess fuel as well. Especially if they had a few minutes to prepare before they went down.
04:35 January 25, 2012 by för30årseden
Yossarian was the squadron's leading authority on internment and had already begun plotting an emergency heading into Switzerland on every mission he flew into northernmost Italy. He certainly would have preferred Sweden, where the level of intelligence was high and where he could swim nude with beautiful girls with low, demurring voices and sire whole happy, undisciplined little tribes of illegitimate Yossarians that the state would assist through parturition and launch into life without stigma..

Hey! Is Orr still there? Has anyone come across him? He must be pretty old by now. Especially since he has apple cheeks.
15:44 January 25, 2012 by flintis
@ Dave N, not completely correct, check your history, daytime raids were a joint venture in the beginning.

Makes no difference tho' as they were all brave men.
17:25 January 25, 2012 by zeulf
@ Milloon Mile mouth The Norsk Halli is at RCAF Base Trenton ONT, I saw it there some years ago , and doubt that it has flown anywhere since. (It was flown back from Norway in the belly of a C-130) check out Flypast Mag.

Canada made great contribution's to the Empire Air war. Training. Manufacturing as well as Manpower.

Dave is correct about the Day/Night bombing . but no Strict Rules apply

For More info on Allied or German Aircraft intrusions check Wigfeldt and Wegmans intensive studies " The Luftwaffe in Sweden" and "Making for Sweden" Parts 1 and 2 about the RAF aned USAAF.

these invaluable books detail Crashs, Landings, Shootdowns. Interned Prisioners and stray aircraft.. burial sites...
16:42 January 26, 2012 by millionmileman
@zeulf

That's what I stated and this is why I know about this because I was there as well. Now it's called the Nation Air Force Museum of Canada. Canadian airmen had the highest casualties of all the Western allies because most of the Halifax crews were Canadian and as I pointed out the loses were because of the flash from the exhaust pipes being visible to the Luftwaffe.

I never said that it has flown since and one would presume it was flown back in a cargo plane.

Thanks.
12:15 January 29, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
An interesting find and thoughtful comments.

My uncle was a commando in WWII and personally knew comrades who escaped the Nazis in Narvik by walking over Bjørne Fjelle ( Bear mountain),

They thought they would be safe in 'neutral Sweden'. Instead, the Swedish police in Kiruna handed them over to the gestapo who tortured and executed them.

Okay - we shouldn't judge people today by what they did 70 years ago - but it speaks volumes for what "Swedish neutrality" really amounts to... 'Let's see who looks like winning and support them'
18:00 January 31, 2012 by wendist
This is one way to visualize the problem.

http://biggeekdad.com/2011/11/the-german/
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