OSWEGO - The H. Lee White Maritime Museum at Oswego presents “The Remarkable Story of the 1985 Recovery of a WWII Aircraft from Loch Ness, Scotland” by maritime archaeologist Joseph W. Zarzynski at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24. For nearly nine decades, since 1933, a loch (lake) in the Highlands of Scotland has been the focus of numerous expeditions trying to solve the mystery of Nessie, the “Loch Ness monsters.” However, another “monster,” a twin-engine Wellington bomber aircraft, ditched at the waterway on New Year’s Eve, 1940. The airplane, a veteran of 14 British combat missions over enemy territory in Europe, was on a training mission out of Lossiemouth, Scotland, when it lost power in one of its engines. The pilot spotted a large waterway below and he succeeded in ditching the plane at Loch Ness. The warplane then sank into the depths of the peat-stained waters and was nearly forgotten.
In 1976, during the golden age of monster hunting at Loch Ness, Martin Klein and Charles Finkelstein (Klein Associates—Salem, New Hampshire) discovered the rare World War II aircraft lying in over 200 feet of water during a Klein side scan sonar survey. The remote sensing project was part of a state-of-the-art scientific expedition attempting to find the loch’s legendary “Loch Ness monsters.” In 1976, this aircraft, called “‘R’ for Robert,” turned out to be one of only two Wellington bombers to have survived and the only Wellington airplane that saw combat. Following several deep-water remote sensing investigations to gather information on the aircraft, in 1985, in a noteworthy underwater recovery, the bomber was raised using atmospheric diving suits, a type of one-person submersible. Zarzynski covered the 1985 event as a correspondent for General Aviation News.