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Flying boats in Windermere BBC Inside Out

2917 Views 14 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  parahandy
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Forgot to ask last week, but did anyone else see the bit on the BBC North West Inside out programme about the scuttled Sunderland flying boats?

One guy of the divers was attempting to relocate them, make an interesting wreck dive!!!!!!. www bbc.co.uk/insideout click on the North West menu.
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Yeah I saw it, it was a bit wierd with that diver saying he knew the location than forgetting, bit wierd. Would be a good dive, how deeps that bit of Windermere?
Anyone got a sonar??
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And the southern version had 'em looking at brittle stars in Kimmeredge Bay!

I think yours was a bit more hardcore!!
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you may need a sonar to find the plane, but when you've found it you'll need a 20ft long pole to shove through the silt to contact the fuselage!!
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Always liked a challenge... Silt Diving!!
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According to a rough map furnished by an Aviation historian contact (and it's only a sketch) there 30m of water there. There used to be a fair wall dive nearby, as already mentioned the bottoms mud and silt.  Need a fair sized lifting bag!!!!!!!:lol2:
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Couple of Balloons and a few DSMBs should do the job.
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Reminds me of the last time I dived the lake and used a SMB in Windermere,doing the old checking about drill on the ascent a bloody speed boat and water skier sped past overhead.
Yes i could see him :maniac:My SMB had one of those pretty Blue and White A Flags on top.
Don't think they know the meaning of an A Flag, think he thought it was a marker for water skiing:scared:
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Isnt that why people carry dive knifes!! (only joking!)
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I've done a fair bit of digging on this as one of my old man's dive partners came from the area and his Grandmother(honestly) told him the story.This is confirmed via research into local newspaper archives etc.Now there seems to be a couple of versions of this story,one is that several boats were scuttled.I was led to beleive that several boats broke their moorings one night in foul weather,two collided and one sank.Now I know someone else "here" has done a proper search re.this and found traces submerged deep in the mud that appear to be the boat/boats.Now I know the person in question,have great confidence that he knows his stuff and if he says it's not on it is'nt, so basically my interest in this intriguing tale was countered as the boats appeared to be beyond reasonable reach.However,earlier in the course of things,before I came to know,well anyone here,I'd made an attempt to contact a local man who sometime ago claimed he'd found,complete and on the bottom one of the boats.The guy had moved abroad however and I'd given up hope of contacting him when months later out of the blue he came hame to visit and contacted me.Now the guys not a diver as such,he dives I beleive in the pusuit of other agendas and recounted to me how he unexpectedly came across the F.boat some 5 years ago.3 yrs ago he decided to have another look but failed to find it,he gave me a rough location as to where he was when he found it.I intended to take the matter up with the guy who'd found the other traces and see if anything matched but I have'nt got round to it,yet.That's all I can tell you,flying boats are a passion of mine and I'd dearly love to dive her if she's there,but she maybe buried.Whatever,the story continues!Take care all,Hobby.
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Well this is a surprise first time on here in months and my favourite subject is being discussed.
13 years ago I was pulling a lost sail out for the marina near Ferry Nab Windermere.
After surfacing a guy stuck up a conversation with me and my buddy, diving being the central talking point.
He reckoned his mate was a commercial diver and had raised a few watercrafts from Windermere.
What pricked my ears up was that he said his diver friend had found aircraft wreckage in the lake including a large wheel!
About six years later I was told from another source how a guy had seen three sunk so I chased this contact up.
This quest started for me a few years of research of the local legends and probably hundreds of pounds of phone bills and many journeys to the lake over the next few years.
A company at the time Navigation and Survey offered to give me the free use of State of the art side scan sonar and an ROV if located. The deal was I supplied the barges, Divers and provided them with some free publicity.
What happened? I organised everything.
Free publicity in all the local rags, The Yorkshire Evening Post, Morecambe bay radio and my screen Debut on Granada TV.
We where all set for a number of TV crews and local rags to cover the day.
And help from the local Submarine, owned by Alan Whitfield of Silver Crest Submarines.
Sadly a week before the company that would give the free Sonar and ROV search couldn't because they where skint.  
Regretfully it screwed the day up big time, I received phone calls for weeks asking about the progress, if the company would have had the balls to carry through their promise it would have made them a wad in free PR.
Ed Hanson who made the recent program phoned me up back end of last year and I provide many of the contacts used and some background info on the program. ([email protected])
If anyone needs some information drop me a line as I have spent considerable time researching the subject.
Hobby said he had contacted a guy in Windermere.
The Guy is Brian Templer and works in the off shore oil industry, he reckons the planes are on the 35 m contour East of the Wray Castle, he kindly provide me with a map and sketch as with Hobby.
They are not there don't waste your time but the cliff walls are worth a dive when the viz is right.
I have made searches in local archives regarding the stories of sinkings, I found nothing so if you have any documented info I would be pleased to have a look Hobby.
I have been in contact with a number of times over the years Marcus Cardew of System Technologies, he makes Side scan Sonar and (I have his email if anyone requires it.) sub bottom profilers.
He has made many searches using sidescan and found nothing.
Incidentaly Marcus found Bluebird in Coniston 10 years before official find but Marcus felt it would be better left alone so he kept it quite as did I.

The fact is as Dalesdiver once said in a  telephone conversation they are under much silt, well yes they probably are, Why?
I once looked with a team of internet divers where they are supposed to have been sunk eye witnessed by two old men.
Outcome not there only 6m depth.
I have been in contact with previous searchers who used a mag and also side scan nothing found.
What has not been used is an SBP in conjunction with side scan and Divers/ROV.
What I can tell you is this I know what areas have been searched and what hasn't. Coincidently what hasn't is a relatively small area and is where I think they are or could be for a number of strong reasons which I will keep to myself for now.
Something to think about, 7 aircraft where used for dyes and training staff, at lest 3-4 where chopped up by fire axe so it leaves 3 missing, (If you require serial numbers get in touch.)
I had a chat five years ago with John Womack the owner of the Divers warehouse if the name sounds familiar he offered considerable help if the search took place. John informed me that 25 years ago he found a float from one of the planes but nothing else.
A lake warden who was a diver found one of the launching wheels.
A float was found some years ago (I was told.) covered in slime floating on the surface? True, I don't know.
I was told from a very very reliable source some guys where looking for a sunken boat and where using grappling irons they pulled up aircraft metal.
Something else to think about, Elfin was a 65ft*6ft.6in steel hulled steam boat, she was sunk in Windermere she was never found and many searches have been made for her, if a mag won't pick her contact up it won't pick up the ferrous in the Sunderland's Pratt and Whitney's
I hope the info is of some use
Many stories to tell.  I will be going up to Windy for a dive this weekend or the next, anyone got a 4wd to launch a boat? cheers.Geoff.


(Edited by Geoff Woodhead at 1:08 am on Oct. 30, 2002)
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Hi Geoff,it was indeed Brian Templar who sent me the mail and gave me a rough location as "off Wray Castle on the 30m contour"!I've sent you mail to the inland rescue address with more details.Take care,Hobby.
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Ben /Hobby/Geoff
On the subject of Flying boats wrecks Oban was one of the bases used in WW2. Understand there at least a couple of wrecks there. Apparently they raised the engine off one its in a museum in Oban have a look at its a fair old size www.obanwarandpeace.fsnet.co.uk.
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The war and Peace sites down at the moment for some reason!!!!
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