The recovery of the wreck of a Short Stirling, which lies at the bottom of the Markermeer, has started today. The British bomber crashed during the Second World War. The Dutch Ministry of Defense will carry out the salvage with the help of a specialized contracting company. In 2019, T&A Survey conducted a detection and demarcation investigation into the suspected remains of this crashed bomber for the Municipality of Almere.
The wreck of the Short Stirling was found several years ago. The bomber took part in the bombing of German cities in World War II. Bomber Command crew members were volunteers. They committed to make at least a tour of 30 flights, but many of them did not make it. More than 58,000 Bomber Command crew members were killed.
Major Bart Aalberts is the staff officer for aircraft salvage: Now, after more than 75 years, we are going to recover the destroyed aircraft. We hope to definitively determine which aircraft was involved and to find the remains of the missing crew members. After all these years, their relatives finally get clarity and a chance to say goodbye. Justice is done to the ultimate sacrifice that this crew made for our freedom.
Due to the possible presence of ammunition UXO experts are involved. With a GPS-controlled excavator, a surface of 75 by 75 meters is now meticulously excavated. Silt and clay are checked for large pieces of wreckage and UXO and then taken to a nearby working island, where it is further sieved and checked for human remains, personal belongings, aircraft parts and archaeological finds.
National program salvage aircraft wrecks
The salvage is part of the National Program for the salvaging of WWII aircraft wrecks, which aimes to ensure the salvaging of more than 30 aircraft wrecks. The salvage operation is expected tot take about 4 to 5 weeks, depending on the weather conditions.