Location Description Plymouth
Craft type Sunderland Aircraft
Date of loss 11 December 1944
Manner of loss Crashed
Outcome Abandoned
Nationality United Kingdom
Departure port Pembroke Dock
Destination port Pembroke Dock
Armament 4 x 0.303 guns in nose and tail turrets, 2 x 0.50 beam guns. Bomb load, 907 kg (2,000 lb)
Crew 13
Built Short
Owners Royal Air Force

Sunderland Aircraft (ML782)

Shortly before 5am on 11th December 1944, a Sunderland MkIII aircraft ML782 from 228 Squadron at Pembroke Dock suffered engine failure then came down in Plymouth Sound and sank near the East submarine boom with two of its crew killed, W/O H Holmes and F/Lt (Nav) J G Trull.

A civilian salvage team from Burts and Co at Hamworthy in Dorset were called in and the Sunderland was raised the next day. While the work was continuing a huge explosion destroyed the aircraft and the seaplane tender (ST468) working alongside it, killing seven civilians and two airmen. It is thought that the depth charges on the aircraft exploded(1,2).

All aircraft in UK waters that have crashed during military service are protected by the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986.

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Sunderland Cattewater

A Sunderland flying boat entering the Cattewater


(1) Wasley G., 2006, Mount Batten - The Flying Boats of Plymouth, Halsgrove, ISBN 1 84114 495 9, p102
(2) Evans J., 2004, Sunderland: Flying Boat Queen Vol 3, Paterchurch Publications, ISBN 1870745132
(3) Storr A., 2006, RAAF WWII Fatalities