Unretrieved Halifaxes

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I have come across stories of three Halifax/Halton wrecks that don't seem to have a conclusion. Can anyone give further information? 1) A Halton crashed into a lake at Elstree. (Presumably it was dredged out again, but I don't know). 2) There was said to be a Halifax in Lough Neagh Northern Ireland. It was said to be "clearly visible" from the air. 3) A four-engined aircraft said to be a Halifax was found by sonar scanning off the scandinavian coast. It was reported that preparations were being made to retrieve it. Sorry, that is all the information I have.
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As has been quoted the Halifax was recovered into McGarry's yard on the East of the Lough soon after the ditching. The story of the ditching was written up in "Air Clues' In the early 70's and was in the back of my mind in 1975 (whilst serving at R.A.F. Aldergrove) when I was asked to interview an Army WO1 diver who had dived on an aircraft in very close to the eastern shore. At that time I was in informal discussion with RAFM concerning a possible recovery, being then unaware of McGarry's recovery of the aircraft. What intrigued me was that his drawing and description of an aircraft fuselage top that was clearly not a Halifax, being a smaller twin and having a distinct step down immediately aft of the dorsal turret. By its location I discovered that this was what was seen by from the air by crews operating out of Aldergrove, now seemingly thought to be a Blenheim IV although the apparent step ( if not a fuselage fracture) indicated a Beaufort - a type known to have gone missing over the Lough in the war and by personal conversation with McGarry was one he never found. In late 1975 by unfortunate coincidence a dory ( Rubber duck) with armed military personnel on board overturned in that immediate area with weapons and other equipment being lost over the side. As a precaution the location was saturated by controlled explosions to pulverise anything of interest lying on the bed of the Lough. This area was subsequently visited by the Army diving team who confirmed to me that the aircraft wreck was no longer identifiable. As a postscript I was successful in getting (very) low level airborne imagery of the Martlet, courtesy of an AAC Scout, in Lough Beg back to FAAM as part of an exercise to confirm that no viable weaponry was still in the airframe.
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Halton into a lake at Elstree? None of my local history books mention this (it'll be in the one I don't have, obviously). I've only found one reference to a Halton or civil Halifax crashing at Elstree. That's LAMS's G-AHZM, written off at Elstree following an undercarriage collapse on 16/9/1946. I'm guessing it's not this one. There is another for which details are sparse. LAMS also briefly owned G-AIAS, used for proving flights by BOAC in late 1945, then returned to the RAF (as PP327) and briefly being loaned back to BOAC again, before sale to LAMS. The only records I can find say it was used as spares after a major accident which resulted in it never entering service (quickly enough after sale that it never gained a C of A either). I can't find a date for the accident, but G-INFO tells me it was registered to LAMS on 17/11/1947, and not deleted from the register until 1/4/1949, by which time the company had been closed for nine months or so. There are two lakes near Elstree, Hilfield Park Reservoir and Aldenham Reservoir. The larger one, Hilfield, which borders the airfield, was not built until 1950, so unless there was a smaller lake there before it won't be this one - either way, Hilfield was a initially a drinking water reservoir so I'm sure any wreck that might have contaminated it would have been removed. Aldenham Reservoir is a little further away, and was built in the late 1790s to control the level of water in the Grand Union Canal, so perhaps water purity would be less of an issue (edit - just found a document saying both reservoirs are held in reserve as public drinking water, so as I might be drinking it, I choose to assume they're both clean). It's not very big, however, so recovery would not have been too difficult.

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I think any aircraft remaining under water now are probably beyond saving, The RAF museums Halifax when that was raised with its bright and shiny metal with paint still on was probably the last chance to restore one without replacing everything, but that's been blown now.
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I think any aircraft remaining under water now are probably beyond saving.
It would be interesting to get an expert opinion or two....keeping in mind condition will vary by locale. It would be a great story idea for FlyPast....hint, hint.

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Isn't there one in the Irish Sea they are looking at recovering? Yup found it http://www.vintagewings.ca/VintageNews/Stories/tabid/116/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/76/language/en-CA/Fishing-For-Halibags--Retrieving-a-Halifax-Bomber-from-the-Irish-Sea.aspx
http://www.57rescuecanada.com/ For the latest info. I really wish them luck finding her. Personally I think the local trawlers will have mangled up any remains by now. MZ981 is a just about complete and unpilfered wreck. Sadly it is distributed across a Pyrenees mountainside where it crashed in July 1945. But all bar the engines are still there if someone wants a giant jigsaw puzzle. (I however think she is best left as a memorial to the crew).
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Isn't there one in the Irish Sea they are looking at recovering? Yup found it http://www.vintagewings.ca/VintageNews/Stories/tabid/116/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/76/language/en-CA/Fishing-For-Halibags--Retrieving-a-Halifax-Bomber-from-the-Irish-Sea.aspx
Hi All, TonyT, Have had a few e-mails from Karl about this project that is on going but all relevant info about this recovery is in the links below. Its the same group who have an ongoing Halifax Restoration, that recovered hasting centre sections from Malta a while back to incorporate them into their Halifax and also recently got their fourth merlin running on Lancaster FM 159. MUSEUM PAGE: http://www.bombercommandmuseum.ca/main_projects.html HALIFAX PAGE: http://www.57rescuecanada.com/index.html Geoff.
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According to Jackson's 'British Civil Aircraft', Volume 2, no British registered Haltons crashed anywhere near Elstree. But then, HP111 didn't say that it was British registered and I don't have the means to check those Haltons (if there were any) that were registered abroad immediately after conversion. I've not checked the British civil registered Halifaxes. Until I looked at Jackson, I hadn't realised just how many there were!
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I've been combining the information in Barnes' Handley Page Aircraft since 1907 (Putnam) and Merrick's Handley Page Halifax (Aston), both of which list the civil conversions with almost complete lists of fates. It does, of course, depend a bit on how one defines a 'crash'. The undercarriage collapse I mentioned in post #4 aside, as AA says, there are no crashes listed near Elstree. The ultimate fate of several Haltons is not recorded in either list. G-AIAS, as I mentioned above, is recorded by Merrick as having a major accident which resulted in it not entering service with LAMS. It was registered to them in November 47, but according to Barnes it was scrapped in April 47. If both are correct, perhaps this suggests they intended to repair it, but on consideration thought better of it. Doesn't sound like an aircraft recovered from a lake. The others are all 'foreign': F-BCQY AP-ACG Pakistan Airways / Air Force AP-ACH Pakistan Airways / Air Force plus at least another two with the Pakistan Air Force and ten last heard of with the Egyptian Air Force and several that stayed with the RAF. The only operator to fly Haltons into Elstree was LAMS, and even they quickly decided the field was too small and moved their freight operation to Bovingdon along with many carriers. That's not to say someone else's Halton couldn't have crashed there or nearby, but that would have been a bit more of a news story, so one might think more worthy of inclusion in the local histories I initially consulted.
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I was tempted to suggest a visit to the local library nearest to Elstree which, I anticipate, will hold microfiche or digital copies of the 'local rag' for that area which, no doubt, would have reported so noteworthy an event as a four engined aeroplane crashing into a local lake. But the problem would be the lack of a date for the incident and, of course, the possibility that the story is not true. However if someone in that vicinity has the time to read through every copy of that 'local rag', from about 1946 to about 1953, then.....!
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That'll be me. I don't have the time to read through all the copies, but as I said, I do have various local history books which have digests of the local newspapers, including much on various aircraft crashes. A Halton at Elstree, at a time when LAMS would have been a small but significant local employer, doesn't get mentioned.
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Can I hear HP111 shouting 'well volunteered, that man'! Unless in the Elstree area aeroplanes frequently were dropping from the skies in the immediate postwar era, regardless of LAMS' status as a local employer one would have thought that such as crash would be headline news in a local newspaper. I know that to have been the case with the Crawley Observer and Crawley Advertiser when I was researching some crashes in the vicinity of Gatwick.

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AP-ACG Pakistan Airways / Air Force AP-ACH Pakistan Airways / Air Force plus at least another two with the Pakistan Air Force and ten last heard of with the Egyptian Air Force
Are all these accounted for. Might be a good place to look. I know that Egypt and Pakistan aren't the most hostpitable at the moment, but could a Halton/Halifax be abondned there and forgotten about?
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Dunno. They're not accounted for in the lists I mentioned, but that doesn't mean someone doesn't know what happened to them. I can't see anyone dropping one of those in a lake in Hertfordshire without causing some comment. Same goes for the French one, although that might have been a more likely visitor. If they are abandoned in some foreign field, they're not the aircraft in question here. Thank you for the vote of confidence, AA (I think...), but as I said, I don't have the time for that sort of search. I have to admit my curiosity is engaged, but I can't find any local mention in the books I have, nor via the web. I'm tending towards the idea that the 'Elstree' episode didn't happen as described, not least because the most obvious lake for it to have happened in wasn't actually there in any sort of likely timeframe. For me, despite the fact that it doesn't involve a lake and that some would not categorise a collapsed undercarriage as a 'crash' , the most likely event is G-AHZM's misfortune on 16/9/46, after which it was apparently broken up for spares on site.

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Given how inaccurate "reports" can be, that looks a distinct possibility. That's a good response: ideas on 2 out of the 3. Nobody knows about a Scandinavian Halifax in the sea, that has been found and is awaiting a planned recovery? (As a long stop, this could be a reference to one of the Norwegian ones, I suppose. Alternatively, LW170 in the Irish Sea could be being conflated with a Norwegian example).