R9496 TL-L Items Recovered

In 2002 I visited the area where Halifax R9496 crashed for the first time. I met Gunnar Vikan who, as a young boy, had watched the burning Halifax crash into the waters of Trondheimfjord. Gunnar took us out on the fjord in his small boat to the area where he saw the aircraft hit the water.

I also met Kristian Steinsvik. His father and uncle, Jan and Ingvald Steinsvik, had tried to take a small boat out onto the fjord to see if they could rescue anyone from the Halifax but had been forced to turn back because the German guns were still firing and they were in danger of being shot. The following morning they searched the shore and found the body of one of the airmen. There was a great deal of wreckage washed up along the shore, the Germans tried to burn as much of it as possible, but the Norwegians had managed to salvage some. Everything was in such short supply at the time that any item that could be of use was appreciated. One item that was recovered from the shore by the Steinsvik brothers was an Irvin flying jacket. It was kept in the Steinsvik family for over 60 years. During my visit to Kristian Steinsvik and his family I was presented with the jacket and told that it was time it went home. There are no words to describe how I felt at that time.

Irvin jacket recovered from R9496 and cared for by the Steinsvik family for 60 years
Irvine Jacket - front view
Irvine jacket recovered from R9496 - back view

60 years and two months after Halifax R9496 crashed into the waters of Trondheimfjord the Irvin jacket pictured above took to the air once more and flew home to Scotland with me. As the aircraft took off from Værnes airport near Trondheim and lifted into the sky I sat with the jacket on my knee thinking about the last time it had been in the air on the night of March 30th 1942 and the tragic loss of seven young men.

Some of the other items from Halifax R9646:

Liferaft pump recovered in 1942
Wreckage still being washed ashore in 2003
pump for liferaft recovered in 1942
Wreckage found in 2003 on the shore
Photo: Kjell Sørensen
Photo: Kjell Sørensen

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© Linzee Druce 2001-2012