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Bristol Beaufighter

Location St. Julians
Type Wreck (Aircraft)
Maximum Depth 38 metres
Entry & Exit Boat
Typical Marine Life Saddled Sea Bream, Damsel Fish, Nudibranch

On 17th March 1943 at 1125 hours nine Beaufighters of No 272 squadron took off to escort nine Beauforts of No 39 Squadron on a shipping strike of Point Stelo. At 1138 hours Beaufighter ‘N,’ with Sgt Donald Frazee at the controls and Sgt Sandery as observer, started to climb to 1500 feet and turned left to search for other aircraft to form up with. At this time the aircraft began to vibrate violently and lost speed rapidly. The observer reported smoke coming out of his heating pipe, the pilot throttled back each engine in turn, this did not help, by this time he could hardly read his gauges due to the vibration. Their air speed was 130 mph and they were losing height at three to four hundred feet a minute.

There was no option but to ditch the aircraft and this was accomplished at 100mph in a slight swell about 1000 yards off Dragonara Point, Sliema. They both managed to get out and apart from minor bruises they were both uninjured. By the time they had both floated away from the aircraft, within 15 seconds she had disappeared beneath the waves. As all this took place close to shore, persons watching informed Fighter Control but a Maltese dghajsa reached the crew some five minutes before rescue launch HSL166 arrived on the spot. The air crew was transferred to the launch.

The Beaufighter now lies upside down on a sandy seabed at a depth of 38m.



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