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After 20 years of searching they have found a WWII wreck!

In France, a group of divers and history enthusiasts have brought to a happy end a mission they undertook 20 years ago. They finally managed to find the wreckage of a plane that the occupying Germans shot down during World War II off the coast of Saint-Malo in 1944. The wreck is a British Handley
Published: April 24, 2019 - 12:23
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 18:06
After 20 years of searching they have found a WWII wreck!

In France, a group of divers and history enthusiasts have brought to a happy end a mission they undertook 20 years ago. They finally managed to find the wreckage of a plane that the occupying Germans shot down during World War II off the coast of Saint-Malo in 1944.

The wreck is a British Handley Page Halifax, serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force. This four-engine heavy bomber aircraft was in service from 1941 until the end of World War II. The found copy was shot down during an air raid on August 31, 1944.

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[blockquote style=”2″]”Finding the wreck is the culmination of 20 years of effort and searching. I am extremely proud and happy that we were able to bring this case to a conclusion. I have always been fascinated by underwater exploration, allowing me to work in pristine environments and in places where no one has been before me. Only there are things waiting to be discovered that are still undiscovered.” – said 56-year-old Olivier Brichet, one of the explorers and by day a lecturer and history enthusiast from Rennes[/blockquote].

The history of the search for the wreck off the coast of Saint Malo dates back to the early 1990s. It was then that Brichet received from his friend Claude Archambault, a list of lost and never found vessels in the Saint Malo area. It included the Handley Page Halifax, shot down after a raid on the island of Cézembre. Its search was carried out by Olivier Brichet and Thierry Trotin in their spare time for the next 20 years.

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Cézembre was the last heavily fortified bastion of the German army in the region. Its capture opened the way for the Allies to the ports of Granville, Cancale and Saint-Malo, crucial for supplying troops fighting in France after the Normandy landings and the start of Operation Overlord.

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One part of the attack on the island garrison, was a raid by 165 Handley Page Halifax bombers. The Canadian Royal Air Force plane, piloted by James Ralph Beveridge, was shot down by ground anti-aircraft defences after dropping a load of bombs. The altitude was insufficient for the crew to parachute out. It was decided to manoeuvre for a water landing, but in the final stage the machine violently hit the water shattering into pieces.

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This was confirmed by several witnesses. People also appeared on the shore to provide assistance and pick up possible surviving crew members. Unfortunately, none of the 7 people on board survived and their bodies were never recovered.

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Interestingly Hangley Page Halifax, is not the first aircraft wreck found by Brichet and Trotin. In 1997, the men discovered the wreckage of an English bomber off the coast of the Falkland Islands.

Source: ouest-france.fr
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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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