HALIFAX CRASH SITE DIG 271118 BFBS
WWII

Halifax Crash Sites Discovered In Germany

Investigators searching for the remains of a Second World War aircraft have identified at least 22 sites.

HALIFAX CRASH SITE DIG 271118 BFBS

At least 22 long-forgotten crash sites have been discovered in the southwest German state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

The discovery was made as investigators searched for the remains of downed Second World War aircraft in the state.

Memorial stones have already been placed at three crash sites and three others are now being excavated by a research team of mainly ex-military licensed volunteers and archaeologists.

Forces News was given exclusive access to one of the remote and undisclosed locations where a Halifax bomber with six Canadians and a Royal Air Force crew member aboard crashed in February 1945.

The crash took place on 21 February 1945, when NP 711 of 408 Goose Squadron was sent on a raid over the city of Worms. 

But the plane and its payload of powerful blockbuster bombs crashed and triggered huge explosions.

Now an officially sanctioned research team is excavating the impact area armed with metal detectors.

They are led by former Dutch Marine Erik Wieman, who said:

“The whole area burned - about 500 yards in each direction. Everything was scorched here. 

"After the War, the English Commission came - he couldn’t even recognise this site as a crash site immediately because he didn’t see a plane. It was gone.”

HALIFAX CRASH SITE DIG 271118 BFBS
A part number eventually identified the aircraft but the site was forgotten.

But now, more than 70 years later, people are unearthing fragments of the aircraft.

Sergeant James Wilson was the only RAF member aboard the Canadian Halifax. After the crash, traces of only three of the seven-strong crew were ever found.

If the research team discovers human remains, they have to hand them to the authorities.

Peter Berkel, the research group fonder member, explained: 

“This site is for me it’s a grave site.

He added: "We treat this site with respect.”

HALIFAX CRASH SITE DIG 271118 BFBS
Also found at the site was an implement that could have belonged to the Flight Engineer.

A single surviving eyewitness from the time played a crucial part in pinpointing the crash site.

Without him, there might never have been a dig here.

The team are keeping the location a closely guarded secret to deter unauthorised treasure hunters.

The aim is to gather as much information as possible for the crew’s modern day relatives.

Eventually, a memorial stone will mark the spot where the Canadian Halifax came down.