WWII Aircraft Wrecks In Lakes

Ad: This forum contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and eBay. More information in Terms and rules

Here's the story of two: WW II Corsairs in Sebago Lake intrigue historians

What the story doesn't say is that the attempt to recover the aircraft (and the human remains inside) was being done at the request of the families of the pilots... after the UK government had told the families that "the aircraft are their coffins, and the lake their grave, and there they will stay - we won't move their remains to a UK cemetary".

The families wanted their relatives' remains brought back to the UK... but they still lie in their aircraft at the bottom of a lake in Maine - thanks to the UK government.
 
Lake Murray, near Columbia SC, was used for low altitude bombing practice during WWII. Columbia Army Airfield was the major B-25 training base in WWII. I read of one B-25, at very low altitude over the lake on a bombing run, where they installed a hinged piece of wood to cover a part of the panel that had been removed. They would hit turbulence and the wood would swing open and the copilot would shove it back; the pilot would tell him to knock it off, leave it alone. Then the wood swung open again, the copilot smashed it closed, and it swung over center and shorted out the magneto wires. The engines both quit, the airplane went into the water. The pilot reached up and opened his escape panel, only to have the copilot climb over him to get out. The pilot had to be physically restrained from killing the copilot.

Studies have indicated that Lake Murray has as many as 25 B-25's in it. One was recovered, but there was not much left of it. Upstate in WWII Lake Greenwood featured young ladies who would sun themselves on the dock and take off their tops and wave them at airplanes that buzzed the lake. This resulted in a B-25 doing an unplanned ditching; it was recovered back in the 1980's and used as the mascot for the Columbia Bombers baseball team before being put in a museum.

As you can see, these are B-25A's at Columbia.

B-25Columbia1.jpg
 
Smithsonian FM-2 pulled from lake Michigan on loan to the Pima Museum in Tucson, AZ. My dad restored the parts that are new and shiny. The Smithsonian stipulat4ed that Pima could do no restoration on the airframe, just add the missing parts. Very good explanation of the aircraft and a diorama of the USS Wolverine steam paddleboat training aircraft carrier.
19-01-04 2.jpg
 
Pima has this seaplane on display PBM along with pieces of another one from the bottom of Lake Washington near Renton. I got to dive on that one as a training missioin with the King County Sheriff's Marine Unit back in the 1980s. It was in very good shape due to the cold water. The navy broke it when they tried to bring it up. I had a great conversation with a docent at Pima when I saw the pieces there.
 
This is an FM-1 that was recovered from Lake Michigan and restored at the Valiant Air Command in Titusville, FL. They did a great job but engine is not the correct type with the two stage supercharger. Ironically, a local guy had one of those engines but had sold it before they realized they needed it. I recall reading that the USN Aviation Museum was saying that so many aircraft in good condition, F4F, SBD, etc, were being recovered from Lake Michigan that they did not know what they would do with all of them.

Can I have one?

FM1Front1.jpg
 
Friedkin Family Warbirds Collection Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-1/7, Werk Nummer 3523.



This aircraft was constructed by Arado GmbH ar Warnemunde, Germany in 1939, and flew in both the Battle of France and the Battle of Britian. The fighter was transfered to the Eastern Front and was being flown by Lt. Wulf-Dietrich Widowitz on 4 April 1942, when the thirty-six victory ace was shot down by a Soviet pilot flying a lend-lease Hurricane. Widowitz put the Messerschmitt down on a frozen lake where it eventually fell through the ice.



Jim Pearce of Warbird Finders in the United Kingdom recovered the aircraft in August 2003, and it has now been acquired by Friedkin Family Warbirds Collection.



This aircraft is on temporary on display at Planes of Fame Air Museum awaiting restoration to flying condition by Fighter Rebuilders.


View: https://www.flickr.com/photos/50393882@N00/50035663601
 
Pima has this seaplane on display PBM along with pieces of another one from the bottom of Lake Washington near Renton. I got to dive on that one as a training missioin with the King County Sheriff's Marine Unit back in the 1980s. It was in very good shape due to the cold water. The navy broke it when they tried to bring it up. I had a great conversation with a docent at Pima when I saw the pieces there.
Pima Jan. 2023
 

Attachments

  • IMG_8504.JPG
    IMG_8504.JPG
    2.7 MB · Views: 11
  • IMG_8509.JPG
    IMG_8509.JPG
    2.5 MB · Views: 9
  • IMG_8511.JPG
    IMG_8511.JPG
    2.5 MB · Views: 9
  • IMG_8512.JPG
    IMG_8512.JPG
    2.7 MB · Views: 9
  • IMG_8513.JPG
    IMG_8513.JPG
    2.5 MB · Views: 9
  • IMG_8514.JPG
    IMG_8514.JPG
    2.7 MB · Views: 11
  • IMG_8516.JPG
    IMG_8516.JPG
    2.7 MB · Views: 10
  • IMG_8515.JPG
    IMG_8515.JPG
    2.7 MB · Views: 8
  • IMG_8517.JPG
    IMG_8517.JPG
    3.2 MB · Views: 9
  • IMG_8521.JPG
    IMG_8521.JPG
    2.8 MB · Views: 8
A couple Canadian fishermen got in trouble for trying to fish a B-26 out of Watson Lake a few years ago. It had crashed enroute to Alaska 16 January, 1942.
 
Pima Jan. 2023
Thanks for putting that up. They've added to the display since I was there. The 50s and part of the tail weren't there for sure. The story I heard around the loss of the aircraft was that they were taxiing in to the seaplane ramp nearby and hit a semi-submerged piling with the wing float. It was a nice day, and the crew had the hatches open for air. Lots of water came in through the open hatches and the plane capsized. No loss of crew, thank goodness.
 
Here are some shots of a B-25 they got out of Lake Murray in SC. Unlike the one from Lake Greenwood, it was not very intact.

B-25-Scarolina.jpg
 

Attachments

  • B-25Murray1.pdf
    181.8 KB · Views: 7
  • B-25Murray2.pdf
    207.2 KB · Views: 6
  • B-25Murray3.pdf
    163.6 KB · Views: 3
  • B-25Murray4.pdf
    135.3 KB · Views: 6
  • B-25Murray5.pdf
    139.8 KB · Views: 6
  • B-25Murray6.pdf
    134.2 KB · Views: 5
I used to hang out at Lake Murray a lot when we lived in Columbia. Never knew there were B-25s on the bottom.
 
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

Back