Recovery of W1048

Chris Dance's photographs of the recovery of Halifax W1048 which took place in 1973 .

Chris writes :

'....The recovery was done by 71 Maintenance Unit. Royal Air Force. Bicester. We had to get a wooden sledge under the aircraft. We also laid an aluminium trackway. This was loaned by the trackway company. The trackway was laid from the aircraft to dry land. The first pull was on the sledge only. The sledge twisted and some of the timbers split. The aircraft was kept buoyant by air bags but there was still quite a weight on the sledge. We eventually used a 3 point pull. One cable to the sledge the other two cables to shackles on the extremities of the aircraft wings. We were worried about a cable break so everybody stood well clear as the Norwegian bulldozer drivers took the strain on the winches. Using this method the Halifax was brought to dry land.'


Halifax W1048 TL-S for Sugar of 35 Squadron , was tasked against the Tirpitz on the 27th April 1942 , the aircraft took flak which started a fire in the starboard wing . Pilot Officer MacIntyre maintained control , and skillfully crash landed on the frozen surface of Lake Hocklingen in Norway . The crew were :

Pilot Officer D.P. MacIntyre

Sergeant. V. C. Stevens

Pilot Officer I . Hewitt

Sergeant D. L. Perry

Sergeant P. G . Blanchett (R.C.A.F.)

Sergeant R .H .D . Wilson

Sergeant Stevens was the only member of the crew who became a P.O.W., due to a broken leg, the rest of the crew escaped.



1 The aircraft floatated by bouyancy bags . View photograph
2 Here she is , just breaking the surface . View photograph
3 Long shot as the aircraft makes the short trip to the shore . View photograph
4 Middle distance shot of the Halifax approaching the shore . View photograph
5 Finally coming ashore . View photograph
6 Browning machine gun recovered from the wreck . View photograph
7 View down through the pilot's escape hatch into the cockpit . View photograph
8 View looking forwards from the crew entrance door . View photograph
9 Flightdeck and control column . View photograph
10 Everyone turned out to watch the operation . View photograph
11 'S for Sugar' finally makes dry land after 31 years . View photograph
12 Belted .303 ammunition and flare recovered from the wreck . View photograph

Thanks to Chris Dance for taking the time and trouble to send us the photographs . Copyright of these images remain with Chris Dance .

More photographs of the 1973 recovery.

We are also very lucky to have some additional material from Svein Torske.Click here to view his collection.