The WWII Legends - Halifax wreck found

A bit of history

On the first of August 1944 the Warsaw Rising broke out. On the third of October, as an answer to an appeal of the Polish President Władysław Raczkiewicz, Churchill began supporting Warsaw with airlifts. However he was dependent on decision of the Air Marshal John Slessor. This way starts one of the most difficult operation of the Second World War –Warsaw Airlift. Stalin’s denial of landing facilities for the RAF, forced taking the most dangerous ten hour way to Poland over Italy. On the fourth of August, in the evening, from Brindisi on the south of Italy, first RAF aircrafts took-off. According to superiors orders, they could fly only on airlift outposts out of Warsaw. But PAF aircrafts subjected to the Polish Air Forces – secretly and in spite of orders flown to help the fighting capital.

In August and September 1944 bombers with the airlifts for the Polish Home Army took off 212 times. Polish, British and South- African aircrews helped Poland fighting. The operational conditions were tough. Flying route counted almost three thousand kilometers and led over the enemy territory. Against the airborne divisions come German fighters, supported with shelling of German and quite often Soviet anti-aircraft artillery. At last come the airlift over burning Warsaw . Exceptionally tough action conditions destroyed more aircrafts than air raid over German cities. One third of the aircrafts did not return…

Presence of the allied airborne troops over Warsaw heartened the rebels, even though, that half of the airlifts fell into German hands. Those, who survived, still remember the airplanes shot down over Warsaw , attempts to help their crews and the feeling of hopeless in front of the death of their comrades-in–arms. They still feel grateful for people, who undertook this mission.

Research purpose

Investigations had to confirm eye-witness account of the catastrophe, that is indicate most likely the place of the wreckage, determine its geometry and detect the approximate depth and location of the wreck.

Description of the research location

Research took place on an arable land located in borough Dąbrowa Tarnowska. Topographical and geological conditions on this area were sufficient to carry out geological radar researches. In general research covered an area 24m x 94m. On this area 13 scans, long 94 cm, at 2m intervals, were made. Considering the size of the quested plane this kind of distance between profiles gave 100% certainty of the research efficacy.

One of the Handley Page Halifax 148 Sqr RCAF planes on the Brindisi airport.

Case study

Considering the depth range and reading resolution 300MHz frequency aerial was used. Readout and analysis of obtained GPR data allowed to locate places with characteristic, significant anomalies and gave a basis to create a plan of the location of the wreck. Time slices show location of the wreck.

Animated projection shows a group of anomalies arranged in a big form about 22 meters long and 6 meters wide. Strong signal amplitude anomalies, points at high probability of occurring a abundance of metal elements. The excavation confirmed this discovery - these anomalies pointed at location of wanted wreck of the Halifax plane.

First signals have been seen already at about one meter depth. The signal reaches its maximum at 1,5 meter and diminishes at 2 -2,5 meters. Visible signals at the depth from 2,5 meters these are numerous reflections from metal remains.

Obtained data shows the difference between metal detectors (VLF or PI) and ground penetrating radar. Owing to GPR method it was possible to locate precisely the wreck among a huge amount of scrap-metal and exactly made diagnosis geometry of the object of interest. Thanks to GPR it was possible to estimate the condition of the wreck before its excavation.



GPR profile shows wreck of Halifax

One of the GPR profiles


Time slice shows shape of buried wreck

Time slice (plan of anomalies) presenting fragments of the bomber


Arheologist and their founds

Archeologists from the Warsaw Rising Museum present part of the finds



RCAF emblemate

Presented pictures thanks to TOPOL AGENCY



Photo gallery
RCAF emblemate Revolver found in Halifax wreck Bobmer wheel Halifax Label
Plan found in wreck Halifax - piece Halifax - piece Halifax - piece
Ammunition found in wreck of Halifax Halifax label Engine Sweter