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Thread: A Spitfire extracted from the mud - Normandy

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    Default A Spitfire extracted from the mud - Normandy

    Hi all,

    I'm sharing the following information regarding a Spitfire that is being extracted from the sand and the mud, in Sallenelles, Normandy, France.

    Here is the original article found in the newspaper Ouest-France dated Wednesday 3 November 2010:

    "Un avion anglais abattu par des tirs allemands sera renfloué vendredi. Englué dans la vase, à Sallenelles, il gît là depuis plus de 60 ans. « À marée basse, il est possible de voir les roues de cet avion », confirme Alain Toullet, chef du port de Franceville. Seuls les riverains connaissent cette histoire. Les caméras de France 3, pour l’émission Thalassa, seront sur place vendredi pour filmer le renflouage."

    Here is my translation:

    "A British aircraft shot down by German Flak will be extracted from the mud on Friday. Bogged down in the mud in Sallenelles, it has been lying there for more than 60 years. 'At low tide, you can see the wheels of this aircraft', says Alain Toullet, responsible for the port of Franceville. Only the residents living near the beach know the story. The cameras of France 3 [French TV] will attend the operation for the TV programme 'Thalassa' [a famous programme with reports regarding the sea in general]."


    Here comes the next article, from Ouest-France dated Friday 5 November 2010:

    "Un Spitfire, qui repose dans la vase de la baie de Salenelles depuis 66 ans, devait être sorti de l’eau vendredi matin. Mais la marée en a décidé autrement. Poussé par le fort coefficient du matin, l’avion britannique, qui avait été sanglé la veille et relié à des flotteurs en surface, a été repoussé au moins deux milles à l’ouest. Les gens chargés de le récupérer l’ont retrouvé dans l’Orne, à environ quatre mètres de profondeur. Compte tenu de ces nouvelles conditions de récupération, l’opération a été contrariée et remise à samedi, à 10 h 30."

    Translation:

    "A Spitfire, lying in the mud of the bay of Sallenelles for 66 years, should have got out of the water this morning. But the tide has changed the course of events. Because of the high tide, the British aircraft, which had been strapped up yesterday and connected to some surface floats, was pushed away two [nautic] miles west of its original location. The people in charge of extracting the aircraft found it in the Orne River, about 4 meters deep. Considering the new conditions, the operation has been postponed to Saturday, 10:00 a.m."

    I will keep you informed of the next events!

    Fox.
    Last edited by Fox; 7th November 2010 at 13:36.
    Author of Crash in Bayeux - The Last Flight of Sergeant Ferguson (ISBN 979-10-91044-13-4) - www.facebook.com/crashinbayeux.

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    The video corresponds to the article dated Friday 5 November: http://info.francetelevisions.fr/?id...RTAGES_CULTURE

    Hit the link, then wait for loading and watch the top right video reading: "Normandie : un Spitfire renfloué à Sallenelles".

    We still do not know if the wreck has been extracted or not. They said they were able to extract the remains of the pilots - he would be an Australian pilot shot down in 1944 who force-landed on the sea.

    They also recovered a plaque with the serial number of the Spit, that looks like a Mk IX.

    Keeping posting,

    Fox.
    Last edited by Fox; 7th November 2010 at 11:16.
    Author of Crash in Bayeux - The Last Flight of Sergeant Ferguson (ISBN 979-10-91044-13-4) - www.facebook.com/crashinbayeux.

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    http://info.francetelevisions.fr/video-info/?id-video=000182860_CAPP_NormandieunSpitfirerenflouSal lenelles_051120101804_F3&id-categorie=REPORTAGES_CULTURE_PATRIMOINE
    Author of Crash in Bayeux - The Last Flight of Sergeant Ferguson (ISBN 979-10-91044-13-4) - www.facebook.com/crashinbayeux.

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    Hello Fox,

    I watched the video and, although my French wasn't strong enough to catch it all, I did hear them say the wreck still had the pilot's body inside and the cameraman appears to zoom in on his corpse.

    My first question was, where are the RAF or French air officials? Did anyone notify them once it was discovered that he was still with his aircraft?
    David

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    The remains of the pilot were extracted on Thursday.

    They first tried to extract the aircraft (a Spitfire LF IX) on Friday, and finally did it on Saturday.

    The pilot was from 453 (RAAF) Squadron. He was hit by Flak above Troarn on 11 June 1944 and force-landed on the sea, in the area of Sallenelles.

    The pilot, F/L W.L. Smith, 24 years old, tried to escape from the sinking aircraft, but couldn't make it.
    Last edited by Fox; 7th November 2010 at 13:04.
    Author of Crash in Bayeux - The Last Flight of Sergeant Ferguson (ISBN 979-10-91044-13-4) - www.facebook.com/crashinbayeux.

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    http://info.francetelevisions.fr/video-info/index-fr.php?id-video=000183275_CAPP_MervilleFranceville14lespitfi rehorsdeau_071120101033_F3
    Author of Crash in Bayeux - The Last Flight of Sergeant Ferguson (ISBN 979-10-91044-13-4) - www.facebook.com/crashinbayeux.

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    Hello Fox,

    what David is asking basically, and maybe you can clarify for the forum.

    Are you officially involved with the recovery effort of the aircraft and pilot? Do you know if the British and/or Canadian authorities were present or gave their approval for this etc.

    I'm asking only too avoid you being accused of disturbing a war grave etc, just let the board know what you know about the official side of things.

    And to everyone else, Fox may not be involved in the effort, he may just be reporting the news so don't go mental on him.
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Hi all,

    I have nothing to do with this story. I just heard of it from the newspaper and thought some of you all could be interested in it.

    Moreover, the pilot of the Spitfire that has been extracted yesterday flew with 453 (Royal Australian Air Force) Squadron, and it has nothing to do with the other pilot's story I'm interested in -- P/O W.K. Ferguson - 401 (Royal Canadian Air Force) Squadron.

    Regarding the French or British authorities, I must say I have no information.

    Hope it's clear!

    Cheers from Normandy,

    Fox.

    PS: the last TV report says they made contact with the family. Maybe the relatives in Australia will ask for the remains of the pilot to be repatriated.
    Last edited by Fox; 7th November 2010 at 15:01.
    Author of Crash in Bayeux - The Last Flight of Sergeant Ferguson (ISBN 979-10-91044-13-4) - www.facebook.com/crashinbayeux.

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    IF, then we're talking of Spitfire MJ 789.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    That's correct. Coded FU-B. Flown by F/L H.L. Smith.
    Author of Crash in Bayeux - The Last Flight of Sergeant Ferguson (ISBN 979-10-91044-13-4) - www.facebook.com/crashinbayeux.

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