Haunting Wreckage Of Downed British WWII Bomber Where 8 Killed Washes Up On Dutch Beach

The wreckage of this British World War II bomber that crashed, killing all eight people on board, has washed up on a Dutch beach in what has been described as a “unique find”.

The downed bomber has been identified as a Short Stirling MK1, specifically listed as the Short Stirling BF396 aeroplane, as each individual aircraft came with its own designation.

Sergeant Thomas Padden, 22, (second from the left, top row) member of the crew of a Short Stirling MK1, believed to be the one that was recovered. (Newsflash)

The Short Stirling is believed to have been shot down by a German night fighter on 17th December 1942.

All eight crew members were killed.

Short Stirlings were British bombers used during the war against Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany before being relegated to second-line duties in late 1943.

The wreckage washed up on a beach in Camperduin, a small village in the Dutch province of North Holland, in February, but it has only now been identified as a British World War II bomber.

Martijn Visser of the Egmond Foundation ’40-’45, which is based at the Bunkermuseum Jansje Schong, in the village of Egmond aan Zee, on the North Sea coast, in the Dutch province of North Holland, said that after careful checks, he was now “100 per cent certain that it is a British plane”.

He added: “Often small pieces wash ashore, but such a large part as now is really unique.”

The 49-year-old, whose day job is working as an electrician and running his own company, said: “On the wreckage pictures you can see A.M., which stands for ‘Air Ministry’, this was used during WWII on aircraft parts.”

The Air Ministry was a British government department that oversaw the Royal Air Force from between 1918 and 1964.

Visser explained: “We came into possession of some Dutch and German documents which mentioned the crash of a Short Stirling into the sea in the vicinity of Camperduin. We compared our wreckage with the only remaining fuselage of a Short Stirling in the Netherlands and it was a 100-per-cent match.”

Visser researched the aircraft wreckage and came across the Dutch airbase of Deelen, where the only remaining hull of a Short Stirling can be seen in its museum. Visser and other researchers determined that the remains of the wrecked British bombers came from the same type of combat aircraft.

Visser said: “A total of three Stirlings crashed off our coast, two near Bergen aan Zee and one near Camperduin. We are 80 per cent sure that the wreckage came from the latter.”

Visser said of the plane that crashed so near to safety: “They were almost home.”

He explained: “By the time you reached the Dutch coast, you were pretty safe.”

He added: “They named the area between Castricum and Egmond aan Zee ‘the gap’ because there was little anti-aircraft artillery there.”

Short Stirlings were used for mining German ports before being used as a supplier craft during the Allied invasion of Europe in 1944-1945.

The Allied invasion saw the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Free French Forces (led by General Charles de Gaulle) first invade Italy, after defeating the Nazis in North Africa, before landing in Normandy on 6th June 1944 in what has come to be known as the D-Day landings, officially called Operation Overlord.

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Story By: Joseph GolderSub-EditorWilliam McGee, Agency: Newsflash

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