Engineers working on a sub-sea power link have found what is believed to be the wreckage of a World War II Royal Air Force bomber off the coast of Norway.
The engineers were conducting surveys of the seabed as part of the North Sea Link project to build a power cable between the U.K. and Norway when they found the plane wreckage. The discovery off the Norwegian city of Stavanger may help solve a decades-old mystery.
Experts consulted by the North Sea Link program identified the wreck as an RAF Short Stirling heavy bomber, which played a key role in delivering supplies from Britain to Norwegian resistance fighters during the war.
The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) brought in World War II aviation enthusiast Bengt Stangvik to study the find. In a statement released by North Sea Link partner National Grid, Stangvik explained that several Short Stirlings disappeared without a trace on missions to Norway during the winter of 1944 to 1945. “Based on the location of this wreck, it is probable that it was on a mission to drop supplies to the resistance forces in western Norway,” he said.
Stangvik noted that, of 30 British aircraft that went missing on missions to the Norwegian resistance, 19 were Short Stirlings. The discovery off Stavanger is likely to be one of six Short Stirlings that are still unaccounted for, he said.
The Short Stirling was the RAF’s first four-engine heavy bomber during World War II, according to Stangvik, who said that the planes encountered problems flying above 15,000 feet when fully loaded. With other RAF bombers able to fly higher, German Luftwaffe nightfighters concentrated their efforts on the Short Stirlings during attacks.
A spokesman for National Grid in the U.K., which is working with Norwegian electricity company Statnett to build the North Sea Link, told Fox News that engineers have made a careful record of the wreckage site. “We have noted where the wreckage is,” he said, adding that the cable route will bypass the remains. “We will go around it to ensure that the wreck is not disturbed.”
National Grid contacted the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre within the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence to notify them of the find.
In the statement, JCCC team member Sue Raftree acknowledged the potential discovery, but could not confirm it definitively. “Discoveries at sea are relatively…