Bodies of three more missing WW II British airmen identified

Squadron Lancasters over France 1944 Photo: Breeze?, via Wikimedia Commons

The human remains found in the wreckage of a British World War II bomber that crashed into the IJsselmeer have been identified as the last three missing airmen from the flight, the defense ministry has said.

The plane, a Lancaster ED603, which was on its way home from a mission over Bochem in Germany, came down in 1943 after being hit by a German night fighter. The Lancaster, which was salvaged in September last year, ended up at a depth of four metres of the then Zuiderzee.

The bodies of four members of the seven men crew were washed ashore on the coast of Friesland at the time but the remains of wireless operator Edward Moore, air gunner Charles Sprack and flight engineer Arthur Smart were thought to be still on board

Their bodies have now been identified by ministry of defense forensic scientists. Defense investigators also found equipment, clothing and two silver cigarette cases with the initials of Arthur Smart and Edward Moore. These will be returned to their next of kin.

Some 250 to 300 were shot down over the Zuiderzee and many have never been found.

A salvage programme was started in 2019 and has a budget of €15m. Some 30 to 50 of the 5,500 war planes shot down over the Netherlands during the World War II are thought to still contain human remains.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation