Archive for the ‘WW2 Wrecks/Discoveries’ Category

Two mass graves discovered in Iwo Jima

October 22nd, 2010 No comments

According to news sources, two mass graves have been discovered in Iwo Jima.

Iwo Jima is a Japanese island which was a battleground of one of the bloodiest wars fought in World War II.

The mass graves are of thousands of Japanese soldiers who lost their lives fighting the war in Iwo Jima area. Bodies of 51 soldiers have been excavated at the Iwo Jima site and all 51 have been identified.

In August, Japanese researchers had said they would be in Iwo Jima to search for graves of Japanese soldiers killed in World War II.

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Slovenia: Mass grave with post-WWII victims found

October 22nd, 2010 No comments

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — A Slovenian official in charge of exhumations says a new mass grave containing remains of victims killed by antifascists after World War II has been discovered in a covered-up wartime trench.

Marko Strovs told the AP on Friday the authorities began to examine the 120-meter-long (400-foot)-long by 3.5-meter-long (11.5-feet-wide) trench in the village of Mostec a day earlier and have found remains. He says the work will continue to determine how many bodies might be buried there.

The state-run Radio Slovenija says that according to post-war testimonies, it could contain several thousand bodies of soldiers and civilians…

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For sale: Historic World War II plane

October 9th, 2010 No comments

COLUMBIA, S.C. — For Sale: Used World War II bomber. Low mileage. Some water damage. Name price.

“Skunkie,” the B-25C Mitchell bomber pulled out of Lake Greenwood in 1983 and stored in Columbia since 1992, is on the block. But critics say the plane should stay in South Carolina. The Celebrate Freedom Foundation, which was given the plane by the city of Columbia, S.C., in 2007, is looking to sell the bomber to a museum or other group that can protect and display it, preferably a museum in the Southeast, said Larry Russell, the foundation’s new executive director.

“It’s a beautiful aircraft,” said Russell, standing next to the plane on a sweltering tarmac outside the historic but crumbling Curtiss-Wright Hangar at Jim Hamilton-L.B. Owens Airport in downtown Columbia. “But it’s a hunk of junk out here in the middle of nowhere,” he said.

“Our mission is to educate children, and this isn’t it.”

Museums in Georgia, North Carolina and other states have shown an interest, but Russell said no one has made a firm offer. “We think it can bring tens of thousands of dollars,” he said. “It’s a gold mine. We just need to find somebody who can take care of it.”

But critics say the plane is part of South Carolina history and a way should be found to keep it in the Palmetto State…

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[photos of the B25C “skunkie”]

WW2 ‘souvenir’ mortar lay in attic for nearly 70 years

October 9th, 2010 No comments

AN east Belfast mother of two who discovered she had a World War Two bomb in her attic has said she believes an Ulster soldier brought it home from the battlefield as a souvenir almost 70 years ago.
Bank worker Andrea McCluskey has been living in the Belmont Park house with her husband and two daughters for almost 15 years, unaware the mortar bomb was in her attic.

It only came to light last Thursday when a fumigator – who was getting rid of a wasp nest in the attic – discovered the device.

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Dumfries Team Unearth Spitfire Remains from WW2

October 9th, 2010 No comments

Dumfries experts have uncovered wreckage of a WW2 spitfire nearly 70 years after it crashed. Staff from Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum supervised the excavation at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.

Dumfries Aviation Museum chairman David Reid said: “We received a letter to the museum from a lady who had witnessed the crash at the time.

“This triggered us to act and team leader Alan Leishman from the museum went to the site and did some investigating. He went over the ground with a metal detector and picked up some readings. During the dig the team found a few small items. “The most interesting of which was the catch for locking the pilot’s canopy closed.”

Also uncovered were fragments of the engine and cockpit, found 10ft below the ground. Before going ahead the team obtained permission from Botanic Gardens and were granted an excavation license from the Ministry of Defence.

Mr Reid said: “It was realised that when the aircraft crashed it came in at a low angle and didn’t penetrate the ground very far.

“Because of this most of the wreckage would have been on the surface and the evidence pointed to the crash site being very well cleared at the time…

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WW2-era munitions moved to Melrose Air Force Range

June 22nd, 2010 No comments

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AP) – A joint team of Air Force and Army specialists has safely transported World War II-era ordnance discovered near Hobbs to the Melrose Air Force Range.

The munitions turned up last week at the Western Heritage Museum in Hobbs.

State police technicians were called for an initial evaluation, then officials alerted the Air Force and Army military explosives experts.

Escorted by New Mexico State Police, the joint Air Force-Army team took the ordnance 125 miles to the bombing range near Cannon Air Force Base on Sunday…

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Stalin-Era Grave Yields Tons of Bones

June 11th, 2010 No comments

At least 495 skeletons, many with head gunshot wounds, have been unearthed in a mass grave probably dating back to purges under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in the 1930s, Vladivostok authorities said.

At least 3.5 tons of bones were extracted from the site on the outskirts of the Pacific Ocean port of Vladivostok after it was discovered by workmen building a road, City Hall said in a statement.

Millions of Soviet citizens were executed or died in labor camps during Stalin’s rule from the 1920s until his death in 1953, but discoveries of mass graves became less frequent after a surge in finds that followed the 1991 Soviet collapse.

Experts were checking the hypothesis that the bodies were victims of Stalin’s purges.

“Practically all of the skulls have bullet wounds,” said Yaroslav Livanksy, the head of a group of volunteers who helped to excavate the site.

He said money and clothes from the 1930s had been found at the site. A crushed child’s skull was discovered close to a bead bracelet and a small slipper.

Irina Fliege, a senior researcher with human rights group Memorial, which collects information about Stalin-era killings, said she had no doubt that the victims were shot by Stalinist forces.

She said far more bodies were likely to be found as adjacent sites are studied.

“This happens all over the country, it’s impossible to say how often,” Felige said. “All we can do is put up monuments to remember the dead.”…

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Unexploded World War II bomb ‘found near Houses of Parliament’

June 11th, 2010 No comments

A suspected unexploded World War II bomb was found near the Houses of Parliament yesterday.
Police were called in to investigate by two members of the public who found the rusting casing of what appeared to be a shell in Lambeth, a short distance from the Imperial War Museum and about a mile from the Houses of Parliament.

Part of Westminister Bridge Road, between Morley Street and Gerridge Street, was closed following the discovery…

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Russia finds WWII Nazi arms ship in Baltic

June 9th, 2010 No comments

Russian authorities are preparing to remove a huge arsenal of shells from a sunken German World War II barge off the Baltic coast.

The wreck is just 1.5km (0.9 miles) from the shore, near the town of Baltiysk, and about 20m (66ft) down.
More than 10,000 shells containing explosives are on board, but without detonators, a Russian government official told the BBC.
The removal work could take two years, Maxim Vladimirov said. The operation, involving 18 divers, is scheduled to begin later this month. Mr Vladimirov, a senior official in the Russian Ministry for Emergencies, said the wreck had already been fully surveyed. There was a potential hazard, he said, although the wreck was not in a shipping lane.

Once ashore, the shells will be blown up by engineers at a military site, he said.

On Tuesday a 500kg (1,100lb) World War II bomb blew up in the German town of Goettingen, killing three people who were trying to defuse it…

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Lost WWII battlefield found -– war dead included

June 8th, 2010 No comments

An Australian trekker said he has discovered the site of a significant World War II battle in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, complete with the remains of Japanese soldiers right where they fell almost 70 years ago.

Former army Capt. Brian Freeman, an expert on the Kokoda Trail – a 60-mile trek through rugged mountainous country and rainforest of the island – said Monday he was led to the Eora Creek battle site where he found the remains of the soldiers.

The site about half a mile from the village of Eora Creek was believed to be the location of the last major battle that was pivotal in Australia’s campaign against the Japanese in Papau New Guinea.

Although the site was known to local villages, jungles reclaimed it after the battle of Eora Creek. Although locals hunted on the plateau surrounding the site, they avoided the 600-square-meter battle ground because of a belief that spirits of the dead were still present in the “lost battlefield.”…

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World War II bomb kills three in Germany

June 2nd, 2010 No comments

Three people have been killed and six injured trying to defuse a World War II bomb in central Germany.

Workers building a sports stadium had earlier unearthed the bomb in the town of Goettingen.

It was not immediately clear why the bomb, reportedly weighing 500kg (1,100lb), had detonated.

Unexploded WWII bombs dropped by Allied planes are frequently found in Germany, though it is unusual for them to explode unexpectedly.

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WWII plane in San Diego lake could rise again

May 30th, 2010 No comments

Salvagers have won permission to recover a World War II Navy dive bomber that has rested on the bottom of a San Diego reservoir for more than six decades.

City and state permits have been obtained for a $125,000 operation to bring up the SB2C-4 Helldiver from Lower Otay Reservoir, said Nelson Manville, a city assistant lakes manager.

The work could begin within a few weeks, with the goal of eventually displaying the plane in the National Naval Aviation Museum in Florida.

“We’re just waiting for the recovery team and museum to give us a date,” Manville told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “This is drinking water, so a lot is going into this because we’re going to have to shut the lake down from the system.”

Divers with Chicago-based salvage firm A&T Recovery examined the plane last year and will have to dredge silt from around the aircraft to see whether it can be recovered.

The Helldiver had taken off from an aircraft carrier and was on a training run when its engine failed and the pilot ditched on May 28, 1945. The pilot and gunner swam to shore, and the Navy decided to leave the bomber at the bottom of the lake.

It was forgotten until March 2009, when a bass fisherman using an electronic fish finder spotted its outline in 85 feet of water.

There are only a half-dozen or less Helldivers left in existence, retired Capt. Robert L. Rasmussen, the museum’s director, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

“No matter how you cut it, they are very rare and we don’t have one in our collection,” he said. “We’ve got nearly everything else that’s significant to Naval aviation.”

He said the submerged Helldiver’s value was not diminished, even though it never saw combat…

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NY museum restoring US-made WWII plane from Russia

May 30th, 2010 No comments

A team of volunteers is restoring a World War II fighter found at the bottom of a Russian lake and brought back to the upstate New York factory where the plane and thousands of others like it were built 65 years ago.

The around-the-world saga of the P-39 Airacobra features a 60-year-old mystery solved, a rare aviation record recovered and a poignant reminder of two of the 3 million…

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Pipeline unearths remains of soldiers killed in World War Two

May 30th, 2010 No comments

On a grey Thursday morning in May, rain-laden clouds were lying low over Buckow, situated on the edges of the Oder river valley, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of Berlin.

When I arrived there, Erwin Kowalke was just donning rubber boots and a green parka, telling me to hurry because rain would make digging a tedious job. The 68-year-old was hastily packing a spade, a yardstick and a metal detector onto his pickup truck.

Five crosses and the caption “Work for Peace” in seven languages were emblazoned on the door of the vehicle – the logo and motto of the “Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge,” the German humanitarian organization where Kowalke works and which is responsible for finding and indentifying missing German soldiers.

On the evening before, Kowalke had gotten a call from a team of ammunitions experts in charge of clearing a route for a Russian gas pipeline to be built in the region.

“They’ve found bones,” he said while we were heading towards Halbe, a town southeast of Berlin. “They say it could be a soldier because there are also pieces of a uniform.”

Later on the journey, he added: “You know, a Russian Field Marshall from the 18th century once said that a war wasn’t over until the last fallen soldiers had been properly buried. I believe there’s much truth in this.”…

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WWII-era plane ID’d

April 8th, 2010 No comments

WAILUKU – A World War II-era wreck off South Maui first documented in January has been identified as an SBC-2 Helldiver, ditched in Maalaea Bay on a training flight by a Navy pilot in 1944.

Maritime archaeologist Hans Van Tilburg of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration dived to the site Saturday and confirmed that it was the plane identified by two groups of private divers separately investigating the wreck. He said the U.S. Navy was in the process of making a plaque to mark the site, which is protected under state and federal law, and that officials may also consider installing a mooring nearby.

Van Tilburg said the aircraft was a rare find, not only because the wreck was almost completely preserved, but also because there are very few Helldivers left in existence.

“I’m definitely impressed,” he said. “It’s remarkably intact. I’ve seen a number of aircraft like this, and this one is very intact. That makes it very special.”

When the wreck was first documented in January, it was initially believed to be an SBD Dauntless dive bomber. But B&B Scuba Maui owner Brad Varney, who first reported the site to government authorities after learning about it from a local fisherman, said he realized after visiting the wreck a second time that it was actually a Helldiver.

Today the plane rests on the sandy bottom of Maalaea Bay in about 50 feet of water, encrusted with coral and surrounded by schools of fish.

According to Navy crash records researched by private divers investigating the site, the plane was making a dive-bombing practice attack Aug. 31, 1944, when high-speed maneuvers damaged the tail fin and jammed the rudder controls. With only limited ability to control the aircraft, pilot William E. Dill, a Navy lieutenant, made a water landing, surviving the crash without injuries.

Varney, a self-described “history nut,” said it was exciting to pore over 60-year-old crash reports and other documents as he and colleagues pieced the story together.

“It was pretty cool,” he said. “It wasn’t that hard to figure out, once you had all the records.”

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