View Full Version : Short Sunderland found Ö well maybe

31st Mar 2004, 10:41
This came up on the news last night and on a few other sites Iíve seen, I havenít noticed it being mentioned here yet so here goes. It would seem that a group of divers are claiming to have located a Sunderland in Windermere lake. It is alleged to have been scuttled in the lake after the war. Here is a link to the picture of the sonar image they claim to have found.


They are keeping very quite about it all, and are refusing to give out any location details. You can make up your own mind as to its authenticity, or not. At the moment I along with seemingly most other people are more than a little bit sceptical about this. The news people also interviewed a local who has carried out numerous sonar studies of the lake and he seemed to doubt that anything like that could be there. For two main reasons, firstly he had never found anything in all his work and secondly the image was almost too good. Oh, and lets not forget itís that time of year again (give or take a day or two). :suspect: ;)

31st Mar 2004, 12:17
Computers are a wonderful thing for cheating........ answers on Flypast historic forum!:E

31st Mar 2004, 12:46
There are solid reasons to suggest that it is a fake. Just my suggestion, but I would take some swaying to think otherwise, that after some 60 odd years the form it takes would not be like that.

When they found Bismark, a steely image appeared but a wreck nonetheless.

April 1st tomorrow of course! Don't matter much it being a day early! :E ;)

Genghis the Engineer
31st Mar 2004, 12:46
No idea about the authenticity of the story, but...

(1) There was a satellite factory, building Sunderlands, on the shore of Windermere during the war.

(2) It's very deep.

(3) I think at-least one Sunderland was damaged on the lake during the war or shortly afterwards.

Presumably there's a local history society up there somewhere who may have published something on the history of the Windermere factory - anybody got anything? There is a chapter in the book "Corresairreville" (Sp?).

Having said that, the picture looks thoroughly bogus. No engines, little damage, no apparent widescale damage (after 60 odd years) and nothing else on the bottom. Looks a trifle dodgy to me.


31st Mar 2004, 13:09
The one thing that I think might be in its favour of it being genuine is the website that is hosting the picture (assuming they are the people who claim to have found it). They seem to be pretty serious divers with lots of experience of locating underwater wrecks. If it turns out to be a fake it would seem a pretty underhanded method of getting a bit extra publicity, especially if the other projects they are working on are real. Hmm, maybe Iím just in trusting mood today Ö still sceptical, but would love to be proven wrong.

31st Mar 2004, 13:13
I would also like to be proven wrong, but it looks like a picture of an uncompleted airfix kit which has been run through a fax machine.

no panels missing and the tailfin looks as if it has snapped off like brittle plastic as opposed to ductile metal.

The nose looks quite convincing though.

31st Mar 2004, 13:28
The Sunderland factory was at Whitecross Bay, on the northern shore of Windermere, which is where this relic is supposed to be. The factory built 35 Sunderland IIIs and overhauled or repaired many more. Anyone with access to Sunderland serial number records ought to be able to determine whether any were shown as sunk or scuttled on Windermere. I believe the factory closed in May 1944 and was later dismantled, though the site remains as a caravan park and sailing centre. If May 44 closure is right, post-war scuttling seems unlikely as ó emergencies apart ó there'd have been no reason for a Sunderland to have been there. I know nothing of sonar images and cast no slur on the diving group, but there's a 'tool' on Adobe Photoshop that would enable you to manipulate a photo of a Sunderland, or of a model of one, to appear not dissimilar to this.

Captain Airclues
31st Mar 2004, 15:47
The constructors numbers of the aircraft built at the Windermere factory were DP176-200 and EJ149-158. However, as Aerohack says, the factory was mainly used as an overhaul facility so many of the 749 Sunderlands that were built would have visited Windermere at some time.


31st Mar 2004, 16:54

Just to point out this appeared about a week ago in The Times - the UK Broadsheet daily. Not my favoured reading matter, but if they've been had, Mr Murdoch isn't going to be pleased. Which, for me, is a good reason to smile! I'd even swap another Sunderland recovered to achieve the Thunderer caught, trousers down.


James K

31st Mar 2004, 17:37
I had a look on thier site and there is a similar sonar picture of a B17 off the Swedish coast I think. Also thier site describes this picture as a side sonar view taken at an oblique angle.

There is also some other very good stuff covering a number of other aircraft wrecks.

31st Mar 2004, 17:55
There was once a picture of a whole B17 in a crater on the moon - courtesy of the Daily Sport! There is also a bridge in the IOM where the fairies play at night!

I guess you believe you want to believe. I don't buy this at all. It has hoax written all over it.

John (Gary) Cooper
31st Mar 2004, 18:10

The floats appear to be broken off, but very close to the mainplanes even after 60 years.

The last time I was up at Ambleside, a couple of years back, the subject of Sunderlands at Ambleside came up with the hotelier, he informed me that some local female historian was writing the history of the 'building' of Sunderlands here. He did mention that slipways were still evident, those I did not see apart from landing stages and small craft slipways.

31st Mar 2004, 19:03
There is also a bridge in the IOM where the fairies play at night!
And you don't believe that - I've driven over it:ooh:

31st Mar 2004, 19:04
Hi Camelpilot,
You really ought to know better. Any fule kno it was a B-52 on the moon. B-17s haven't the range!:p

31st Mar 2004, 19:34

Yeah, and the taxi driver I was with asked me if I would like to stop and wait for them. And you know what? He actually meant it! But the crew would have been annoyed if I had. ;) :rolleyes:


Love it!

Let us see what to-morrow brings! (1/4/04)

31st Mar 2004, 19:48
Ah, but if you HAD waited, especially if you happened to have a wee bit off the good stuff................

1st Apr 2004, 08:13
Well it's the 1st and the host "diving" website is down ..... awaiting the update.

Edit: Ah well it's back up now with no changes. Note to self, must stop being so twitchy on April fools day ;)

1st Apr 2004, 11:12
The lack of engines fits in with the scuttling theory but surely that would have thrown the CofG rearward resulting in a tail down descent to the bottom. The tail section would have been a tad crumpled upon arrival at the bottom. The wings would also be a little bit bent(!). The nose turret appears to have been wound back but the tail turret (with guns) appears to be there. Surely that would ahve been removed prior to scuttling?

I say tis a fake.

1st Apr 2004, 11:26
I don't know if it's real. It's too neat is my major concern.

However, to 'answer' LowNslow's point, even a taildown arrival of the Sunderland will crumple the end of the planning hull, and probably not affect the bit we can see in the 'scan'.

1st Apr 2004, 11:41
JDK I think the arrival would have crumpled more than the planing hull as Windermere is up to 500' deep in places which would allow sufficient speed to build up to bend quite a bit of metal. Did Sunderlands have fabric covered ailerons as well? Surely the covering wouldn't have survived 60 years in the water.

Having the facilities of an offshore exploration department available to me I whizzed a copy of the pic over to our sub-sea survey department. The comments were:

a) The starboard wing should have a 'shadow' at the trailing edge not both leading and trailing edges.

b) The texture of the picture on the aircraft would be different to that of the seabed regardless of how long it has been down there. There isn't the level of marine growth in Windermere necessary to blend a structure into the seabed.

c) The line going from top to bottom to the right of the aeroplane would need to be about 12" in diameter to cast the sonar shadow shown. Its straightness would suggest a pipeline and, as far as we know, there are no pipelines like this running along the bottom of Lake Windermere.

So, again, tis a fake sir!

PS On zooming in, I can see that the tail turret is in fact missing.

1st Apr 2004, 12:59
If somebody who knows how post pictures pm's me, I can send some REAL sonar pictures of aircraft & ships......

1st Apr 2004, 13:00
Hi Low,
I think your points are all very good.

I still beg to differ on the certainty of particular areas of damage (against the high probability of more damage than seems evident). I'm wary of being dogmatic about how it would've arrived, and a Sunderland (sans engines, fuel, guns, military equipment, people, kit, etc, etc has a lot of surface area (wings and tailplane to work against the not inconsiderable weight - but we can't be sure.

However your other comments seem very -ah- watertight, so I agree. The Times do seem to have gone rather quiet. I do so home they have been had. They can be v. pompous sometimes.

PS Yes, would love to see some 'real' pics.

1st Apr 2004, 14:40
I did post a couple of days ago that the answer was on Flypast`s website, historic and search for sonar.....................!

1st Apr 2004, 15:09
Just to save people the trouble of searching.



1st Apr 2004, 15:10

I have tried to PM you but it seems to keep bouncing back.

Send me your pics and I will post. You should have my address from the Auster pics I did for you.


Captain Airclues
1st Apr 2004, 18:40
My guess is that, once under the water, the resistance of the tailplane would have overcome the effect of the aft c of g, and the aircraft would have pitched nose down. Are there any fluid dynamics experts out there? (Does anyone have an old Sunderland that we can experiment with?)

It would be nice if it were true though wouldn't it?


1st Apr 2004, 19:50
Captain Airclues

not that sure of the aft CoG actually.

I've got a cold tonight so my thinking might be a bit fuzzy. I guess the scuttling involved opening some windows in order to let the air out while water was flowing into the bottom of the hull. this water would probably change the position of the CoG, but I've got no idea which way.

And I doubt my son would appreciate me experimenting with his 1/72 Airfix model in the bath.

2nd Apr 2004, 05:24
I am told that when the US Navy scuttle their aircraft to make artificial reefs, the characteristics of the aviation submarines is the same as the aircraft in flight. therefore if the elevator hangs low, you would expect a potentially upside down aircraft, however gust logs in place may well make for a neutral descent to the abyss. There are numerous recorded scuttlings in Northern Ireland lochs, and a survey in 96 failed to find any of the rumoured 25 sunderlands there.

I hope that the story is true and a recovery executed.

2nd Apr 2004, 08:51
One place I know there is a scuttled Sunderland is Sullom Voe.
At the annual low tide, the upper surfaces of the wings are exposed. As the BP Oil Terminal was about to open, panic ensued as it was suspected that there may be bombs etc on board. After much hullabaloo it was found to be a stripped out hulk. An old chap who remembered the event told us how the Sunderland had come in from a patrol so badly shot up it would barely float. The captain ran it up onto the slipway. The boat was stripped and towed into deep(ish) water where it remains to this day.

Mr_G check your emails.

Cap'n Airclues good to see you around again.

2nd Apr 2004, 12:12
These Pics posted on behalf of LowNSlow.




2nd Apr 2004, 13:47
Very interesting.

3rd Apr 2004, 03:21
Thanks Mr G my tame surveyors and sonar ops assure me the pic of the B-24 and the ship are genuine. Interesting colours on the B-24 pic!

26th Apr 2004, 14:07
In this month's Pilot there's an article that mentions the Sunderland that was allegedly scuttled in 1945 in White Cross Bay on Lake Windermere. There's a sidescan sonar image showing it intact on the bottom less its engines and with what looks like the wing float gears buckled underneath it.

There are apparently some plans being formulated to raise and restore it as a tribute to Coastal Command.

Does anyone on forum know any further details? It sounds absolutely fascinating!

A few years ago I had a submarine trip at the bottom end of the lake, so I can well believe that it would be fairly well preserved in the ooze.....


I don't think that the sky *is* the limit, you know. It's more likely to be the ground.

26th Apr 2004, 14:17
A thread on that subject was to be seen less than a month ago on this forum.

For those who still do not know, the SEARCH function is now available 24/7 on PPrune

26th Apr 2004, 14:54
Well, thanks. Please don't shout - it's rude:(

The search that I did before posting included Sunderland/White/Cross/Bay didn't turn up any hits.

Thanks for your input anyway. I'll crawl away now and die......


26th Apr 2004, 15:02

Sorry, no offence meant, I was not SHOUTING :p

One suggestion : when searching, start with a reduced set of keywords and refine your search afterwards with more keywords, if, and only if, you are overwhelmed by the results.



PPRuNe Pop
26th Apr 2004, 19:22
The search function is very simple use a 'username' OR use a word like Sunderland, and since you know it was on this forum you can restrict it to this forum and voila! About 3 seconds it took me. What is all the fuss about?

And yes capital letters are shouting!

Btw, if you believe this story you will...............................believe anything.

26th Apr 2004, 20:04
PPRuNe Pop

I didn't mean to offend anyone.

If you take a closer look at my post, you will notice that it was not in capital letters, I just used a large font and boldface , to make it more visible. Capitals were only used to stress the word "search".

For my second post, the smiley after "SHOUTING" should have made it obvious that there was some irony behind it (yes that word exists also on the continent ;) )


PPRuNe Pop
26th Apr 2004, 21:16
No offence taken I assure you.

Just enjoy PPRuNe.


26th Apr 2004, 23:36

Just enjoy PPRuNe.trying my best :ok:

27th Apr 2004, 10:25
First thread;


16th Dec 2009, 22:33
Over the years I've heard a number of stories about a Sunderland at the bottom of Windermere. The obviously faked pictures of three to four years ago did nothing to add veracity to this story and available evidence seems to point to there being no such wreck.

However, locals persist in saying that at least one incomplete Sunderland was scuttled at the end of the War. In a sonar search for Kaiser Wilhelm II's lost steam yacht, 'Elfin' I picked up a sonar target which one knowledgable local says is one of these Sunderlands. The location is right (I've removed coordinates and depth from the sonar scan to protect this wreck) and I certainly wouldn't have expected any divers to have come across this wreck before becasue of the depth. The target is approx 70-80 feet in length and is a side view.

I'd greatly appreciate any views or comments about the identification of this wreck, which is bigger than any known wreck in Windermere.


16th Dec 2009, 23:23
Ah, nice to have this one back again

I've spent some considerable time and effort trying to bottom out this story and, despite wanting to believe it, have finally come to the conclusion that it does not exist. There is nothing tracable in records anywhere, everybody I've interviewed who worked there swears none were sunk, a previous search of the lake failed to find anything Sunderland sized . . . and yet the rumour won't die.

I'd be very keen to hear more about this - I understand you not wanting to share the location in public. Would you be so kind and drop me a line and I'll share more about why I'm convinced it is not there.

All the best

Allan King

10th Jan 2010, 10:25
Just an update on the sonar picture I posted above. Having exchanged e-mails with Pondskater, it's clear that the Sunderland is just local myth and nothing else, however hope to get some good sonar pictures of the Sunderland moorings in Wray Bay for him next time I can get the boat out. I've just got some new (and much more reliable) measuring software, which also puts this target firmly out of the Sunderland category, as it's 160 feet in length, more than twice the length of any known wreck in the Lake, although I do have some theories about this, which I can pursue.

Double Zero
12th Jan 2010, 12:06
If you want a Sunderland to recover, there is a strongly held belief that several were scuttled in Poole Bay, Dorset, after being towed out of the harbour where they had lain.

The good news is that it's relatively shallow, easily diveable, the bad news is that it's a rough bit of open sea with significant tides and an uneven seabed.

My father, a lifelong aircraft engineer, once found a large aircraft wheel washed up on nearby Studland beach - which is against prevailing winds but easily possible by the tides in the area.

I should think the local dive boats / clubs would know of anything substantial left...

Anyone know anything about it, or shall I do some mild research into the diving fraternity ?


13th Jan 2010, 13:31
There is a Sunderland 1 that is hopefully going to be raised soon, in Milford Haven, Pembrokshire.

Details here - Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust (http://www.pdst.co.uk/)