View Full Version : A bit of a long shot - 1940s Aircraft crash in Albania

Roland Pulfrew
1st Dec 2014, 08:41
Ladies and Gentlemen

I realise that this is a bit of a long shot but I am trying to help out a colleague of mine. He has done a fair amount of travelling in the Balkans and whilst in one of the remoter parts of Albania (north east of the country near the village of Markaj) he came across stories of the crash of what was locally thought to be an RAF aircraft. The crash apparently occurred some time during the winter of 1946/47. His only clue so far is of what he thinks is one of the main wheels (see below).

I have done some research on t'internet but haven't found any reports of the loss of an RAF aircraft in this area in the relevant timescale, so my hope is that someone on here, with all of our accumulated knowledge might be able to identify the "wheel" or have some clues as to the actual nationality of the crash. This would at least give us a start on where and how we might be able to find out more information.


Any help gratefully appreciated.

1st Dec 2014, 18:25
Looking through 'Broken Wings' no sign of anything in Albania from 1945 - 47. I'll keep on looking up to 1950, just in case.

2nd Dec 2014, 03:06
IF this is from an aircraft, there should be other parts scattered around.
Those parts should have numbers stamped on them. From those numbers, it will be possible to identify the type.

There is no indication of scale to the wheel (there should be a number on that!), however, I cannot think of any aircraft of that era that used a steel wheel, most were mag alloy.

2nd Dec 2014, 15:09
How accurate is the timescale for this crash? There were a lot of RAF aircraft operating over the Balkans late in the war.

Try this for a starting point. Go to the Commonwealth War Graves site search for Albania. The casualties killed over Albania are commemorated in the Tirana Park (I think that's how its spelt) memorial. With the communist take over, I think the graves were removed and there is now a communal grave or something like that. This will give you some clues and you can then search the squadron records or books like Flights of the Forgotten and my own book which I'm not allowed to mention!!!!!!

Old Duffer

2nd Dec 2014, 15:27
The picture does look a bit like an old truck wheel. Are there any-more photographs?

Cows getting bigger
2nd Dec 2014, 18:17
OD has a good idea. I think it may also be worth looking at RAF participation in the Greek civil war.

3rd Dec 2014, 11:28
I've had a look at the Albanian war graves and there seems a likely crash of Halifax BB444 of 624 Sqn which was lost dropping supplies to the partisans on 1 February 1944.

Other losses include a 148 Sqn aircraft on 20 October 1943.

Perhaps a search of both sqns Forms 540/541 would help identify the locations of these aircraft.


5th Dec 2014, 18:25
Interesting puzzle.

Recent book by Albert Lulushi, "Operation Valuable Fiend," can be found on Amazon. Lulushi read Albanian documents and spoke to Albanian witnesses; also seems to have extensive sources in US.

Lulushi argues that Philby had nothing to do with the operation's failure (N. Bethell notwithstanding).

NE Albania was indeed the field of play. Lulushi says C-47s (flown by the omnipresent Polish pilots) were used. Book index doesn't mention aircraft losses; does note one C-47 aborting its mission and making emergency landing in Brindisi after being shot up by apparently forewarned antiaircraft gunners.

5th Dec 2014, 18:31
The wheel rim looks like something from a HP Halifax, not a Douglas C-47.

5th Dec 2014, 18:36
If it looks like a Halifax wheel then the 1944 loss mentioned above seems more probable than anything postwar.

7th Dec 2014, 20:40
The wheel-consols on the Halifax was the worlds biggest Magnesium-casting at the time!
As also mentioned by Critter592: Considering that fact, I find it unlikely that the wheels should have been made of (rustable) steel :-/