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B-24 wreck in the Adriatic identified

Discussion in 'Air War in the Mediterrean' started by mcoffee, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    "Watch the video Watch the photogallery
    E 'was officially identified the wreck of the U.S. B-24 bomber sunk off grade during the Second World War. With a spectacular operation, the team of divers Civil Protection Grade led by Giuliano Felluga, with the collaboration of sommozzatre and professional diver Stefano Caressa, and under the auspices of the Carabinieri of Grado, has recovered from the seabed the helm of the right of the tail unit with the identification number. "Now there is no doubt - Freddy says Furlan, the historian who after a long search has reconstructed the history of the plane -: This is the unit of the 449th Bomb Group piloted by Howard Hanson and shot down February 28, 1945, there were no survivors among the crew. "A few weeks ago on the wreck had been found a skull."

    A less than perfect Google Translate text of the article in an Italian newspaper.
    http://ilpiccolo.gelocal.it/cronaca/2013/09/27/news/recuperata-la-coda-del-bombardiere-usa-b-24-al-largo-di-grado-1.7820173

    The discovery of the right vertical stabilizer with the partial serial number still visible confirms the identity of a wreck long thought to be 42-51642. The aircraft was a Mickey ship belonging to the 716th Squadron of the 449th Bomb Group and was flown on 28 Feb 45 by an 11 man crew piloted by Howard Hanson. The aircraft was hit by flak in the #3 engine over the Iscarco/Albes RR Bridge near the Brenner Pass and was last seen trailing the formation over the mountains in northern Italy. The crew list is attached below. Also a couple of photos of the crash site from 2010. The bodies of Betz, German, Turpin and Cox, washed ashore in the vicinity of Grado, the remaining 7 were never found.
    View attachment 19514 View attachment 19515 View attachment 19516
     

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  2. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Most interesting update ,thanks for the list and history that goes with it. :poppy:
     
  3. buk2112

    buk2112 Member

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    Most interesting, thanks for posting.
     
  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member

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    Thanks for the post. Nice read.
     
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  5. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    "sommozzatre professionista e operatore subacqueo" should be translated as professional diver and underwater cameraman, more interesting are the comments below the article on what to do now, it's in shalow enough waters that that make it vulnerable to souvenir hunters and there'se no way to protect it effectively once it's location is known.
     
  6. green slime

    green slime Member

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    That is an issue.

    But why are some sites more protected legally from plundering than others? Why are some wrecks suitable to raise, by private individuals, companies, institutions, or governments, and others regarded as cemetaries?

    How old does a wreck have to be to be considered "fair game", or archaeologically interesting, justifying institutional plundering?
     
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  7. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    Yes, that is a major concern. The location of the wreck has been well known to local divers for many years and has already been stripped by souvenier hunters. The fuselage was snagged by a fishing net in the '90s which dragged the wreck 30 meters of so from its original position. The stabilizer was found partially buried in the sand near the wreck's original location. I am in contact with the researcher mentioned in the article. What is most troubling is that human remains were also discovered in the vicintity of the stabilizer. DPMO/JPAC have been notified of the discovery, but it is feared that the remains may be disturbed before action is taken to properly recover and identify them.
     
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  8. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    I think there is no international definition of war graves that defines what is protected and what's not, though there are national legislations like the British http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protection_of_Military_Remains_Act_1986. But it's not only a question of legal protection, it's practically impossible to provide effective surveillance to the thousands of underwater wrecks exist around the Italian coast.
     
  9. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Or almost any coast, for that matter. But the cost in many places if you actually get caught, is very, very, steep. In many countries, dive operators themselves will not allow errants to pillage sites. There are always, however, those less inclined to self-restraint.
     
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  10. TonysDaughter

    TonysDaughter New Member

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    The article about this discovery was in my Dad's Bomber Group newsletter. My Dad was the Navigator on the Howard Hanson crew. That terrible day he was taken off the plane by the Commander and told to go navigate on another plane. He always said that was bad luck. No one was happy about it. Not sure if he had to train someone else or if trainees were put on the plane that day. Every year on Feb 28 (up until a few years ago when the local Catholic Church was closed) he would light a candle for the brothers he lost. Even now, at 91, he mourns their loss and has a difficult time discussing it. He doesn't understand how fate made this happen. I know he would have been close to all of them through the years.

    Several years ago one of the crew's family members (McGrath I believe) contacted us. I thought it would give my Dad a chance to share his feelings and perhaps help that family. But in reality, there is nothing my Dad can say. He heard the mayday and then returned to an empty barracks. Just terrible for everyone.

    God grant everyone peace.
     
  11. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    The Hanson crew flew as deputy Group lead on 28 February. Clarence Dragoo was the navigator for the McGrath crew and was put aboard the Hanson Mickey ship that day. Your dad took Dragoo's place with the McGrath crew in the #3 position of the formation.
     

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  12. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    The remains of gunner Albert Acampora were discovered in a mass grave near Venice, Italy in 1957, identified by dog tag and returned to New Haven, CT where they were buried. Per the attached newspaper articles, the remains of POWs were also in the grave.

    How his remains got to Venice is a mystery. Venice is at least 60 miles from the crash site. The IDPF for Acampora has been ordered, but the acknowledgement stated a possible 48 week lead time. Hopefully, it will shed some light on this situation.

    The DPMO website still lists Acampora as MIA, so there was an apparent disconnect in updating records.

    This leaves 6 crewmen MIA with 5 bodies recovered.
     

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  13. ezej3

    ezej3 New Member

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    This is absolutely amazing....I am the Great Niece of Howard Hanson (he was my Grandma's (Mother's side) older brother). It is said he was the nicest man and very handsome. I'm glad that my family finally knows what happened to him. He does have one living brother, he was much younger than Howard. Any . other information about this would be greatly appreciated. My Grandma was Arline Christopherson (born Arline Hanson Sept. 28, 1912).
     
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  14. ezej3

    ezej3 New Member

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    I am the Great Niece of Howard Hanson. Most of his direct family (parents and siblings are passed). He does have a living brother Willard Hanson of Stoughton, Wisconsin. Willard was much younger than the others. My grandma (born Arline Hanson) was Howard's sister. She absolutely adored Howard....he was very kind. Please tell your Dad that Howard has lived on in our family with stories and love. I hate that he lost his whole crew. I know that Howard would not want him to grieve so much. I pray that your Dad find's peace. War can do so many awful things...even when you survive.
    I'm Jessica....screen name ezej3.
     
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  15. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    ezej3: The secretary of the 449th Association has been in contact with Hanson family members. Any new developments will be passed along.

    Update on Acampora from post #12 above: The newspaper clippings had some of the details incorrect. Acampora had been interned in the Pellestrina Community Cemetery near Venice. The German War Graves Commission found his remains as they were moving German casualties (not POWs) to the new German Military Cemetary near Lake Garda. Acampora's body had probably drifted with the prevailing currents to the Venice area. Three of the four previously found crewmen were discovered in the Chioggia area which is past Venice from the crash location.
     
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  16. SrA Zitelli

    SrA Zitelli New Member

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    My Great Uncle was Lawrence F. Nally. He was the ball gunner who went MIA. This is a terrible but amazing story. My Grandmother Marcella is Lawrence's sister and is still alive. It would be nice if I could if I could get in touch with the Navigator who still is alive to talk to. My email is mjz32@yahoo.com. I honor and appreciate the sacrifices these brave men and their families all made.
     
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  17. ezej3

    ezej3 New Member

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    mcoffee- I am in contact with the 449th, family, and family members of other crew members now. I wasn't looking for info on dive....just anything about my Great Uncle Howard (pictures or things like this). I want to keep his memory alive :)
     
  18. mafusco51

    mafusco51 New Member

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    I am the Great Nephew of Albert Acampora and have been learning new information about the Hanson crew with help from Mary Crowley from the 449th Association.
    Albert was my grandmother's younger brother.
    I'm attaching some pictures that made it back from Italy somehow to my family.

    View attachment 20108 View attachment 20109 View attachment 20110
     

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  19. mafusco51

    mafusco51 New Member

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    In the pics:
    Albert1 - my uncle is kneeling on the lower right. And from a picture I received from Mary from the 449th via Lisa Fermano, her father, Anthony Fermano, I believe is standing top left.
    Albert2 - Howard Hansen is second from the right.
    Albert 3 - my uncle Albert is on the far left.

    I'd love to learn if anyone can identify the other crewmembers in the photo..
     
  20. SrA Zitelli

    SrA Zitelli New Member

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    The picture Albert 3, the guy on the right looks like Lawrence Nally ,My Great Uncle. Wonderful picture, thank you
     

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