Halifax W1048

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The only other complete Handley Page Halifax to survive the war is a B. Mk. II, Series I, Serial No. W1048. Halifax W1048 was built by English Electric at Preston, on March 27th, 1942 the aircraft was allocated to No. 102 Squadron at Dalton in Yorkshire. On April 9th, 1942 it was one of six Halifaxes transferred to No. 35 Squadron, RAF, at Linton-On-Ouse. While at Linton it was coded TL-S and it flew it's first, and only , mission on April 27/28, 1942 with 24 year old Canadian F.O. Don McIntyre's crew when it was tasked to attack the Tirpitz lying in Foettenfjord, near Trondheim in Norway. Eleven aircraft and crews of No. 35 Squadron were dispatched to RAF Kinloss, which barely placed the target within range of the Halifaxes. Three squadrons of Halifaxes were involved in the attack, one to bomb the target and the other two to attack with specially modified 1,000 lb sea mines from a height of 200 feet, the plan being to attempt to cause damages below the waterline which was considered to be more vulnerable than were the heavily reinforced decks. W1048 dropped it's four mines as briefed but it was hit by flak and the starboard engine set afire. There was no chance to get back to base so the aircraft was set down on Lake Hoklingen which was frozen over and covered in a thick layer of snow. The landing was made, wheels up, in the moonlight on the frozen lake surface and although the aircraft slid a long way before coming to rest the landing was quite smooth. Nevertheless the Flight Engineer, Sgt. V.C. Stevens, managed to break his foot and was unable to travel, becoming a prisoner of war. The six crew members moved away from the aircraft, which was still burning and watched as it melted the ice and slid beneath the surface into 90 feet of water, where it was to remain for the next 31 years.

Obviously Sgt. Stevens was in no position to evade capture so he remained and was taken prisoner. The five remaining crew members escaped to Sweden and were repatriated to Britian after a year in captivity.

On June 30th,1973 a RAF Sub Aqua expedition, aided by some civilians, successfully raised the aircraft and returned it to Britian for display in the RAF Museum. The aircraft is now displayed in a preserved, but unrestored, condition, exactly as it was recovered, in the Bomber Museum section of the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon, near London.

The Halifax serial number W1048 is a B. Mk II, Series I, powered by 1,390 h.p. Rolls Royce Merlin XX's with the 'triangular' fins with 2 gun nose, 4 gun tail and 2 gun dorsal turrets.

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