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Wreckage of WWII RAF plane found off Norway

The wreckage of a WWII RAF plane that helped drive the Nazis from Norway has been found at the bottom of the North Sea 70 years after it vanished without trace.

National Grid engineers were astonished to find a Short Stirling heavy bomber off the Norwegian city of Stavanger.

It is believed to be one of six which vanished while taking supplies from Britain to resistance forces in Nazi-occupied Norway towards the end of the war in 1944-5.  

National Grid engineers were astonished to find a Short Stirling heavy bomber off the Norwegian city of Stavanger. Pictured: An image of part of the wreckage

National Grid engineers were astonished to find a Short Stirling heavy bomber off the Norwegian city of Stavanger. Pictured: An image of part of the wreckage

Power: The Short Stirling was a British four-engined heavy bomber of the Second World War

Power: The Short Stirling was a British four-engined heavy bomber of the Second World War

The engineers made the discovery while scanning the sea bed with sonar equipment along the proposed route of a UK-Norway electricity cable link.  

It is not known exactly how the plane went down but expert Bengt Stangvik said the four-engine aircraft struggled to exceed an altitude of 15,000 feet - making it a target for Luftwaffe fighters.

He said: 'Several Stirlings disappeared without a trace on missions to Norway in winter 1944-45.

The Short Stirling 

The Short Stirling was a British four-engined heavy bomber of the Second World War. 

It has the distinction of being the first four-engined bomber to be introduced into service with the Royal Air Force.

Wingspan: 30 m

Top speed: 410 km/h

Length: 27 m

Number built: 2,371

Designer: Arthur Gouge

First flight: May 14, 1939

National origin: United Kingdom 

'Based on the location of this wreck, it is probable that it was on a mission to drop supplies to the resistance forces in western Norway.'

Nineteen of the 30 British aircraft which vanished during the Norwegian resistance were Short Stirlings, he added, of which six are unaccounted for. 

After finding the wreckage, engineers sent a camera down on a remote-controlled underwater vehicle to inspect it.

Nigel Williams, North Sea

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