During 1943 several British RAF Beaufighter Squadrons were operating from RAF Luqa (Now the International Airport) in Malta. The Beaufighters were crewed by a pilot and navigator and operated in the Fighter and Light Ground Attack Roles using their 4x 20mm Hispano Cannons (In the Nose, just above Torpedo in Right Picture) and 6x .303 Browning Machine Guns (In the Wings). They could also carry Torpedoes (color Picture) and Rockets (black&white Picture).
On 17 March 1943, 9 Beaufighters from 272 Sqn got airborne late morning, with the mission of protecting 9 other ‘Beaufort’ Light Bombers on raids to enemy shipping to the north. Shortly after take-off, one of the formation developed severe engine vibrations. Despite attempts to correct the problems, the Pilot, Sgt Donald Frazee had to inform his Navigator, Sgt Sandery that they were going to have to ‘Ditch’ (Land on Water). Losing height rapidly, Frazee landed on the water at about 100mph. The aircraft began to sink, but they were both able to climb out and inflate their life jackets, as the aircraft slipped below the waves! 5 minutes later, they were picked up by local Maltese Fishermen. They both later returned to active service.
The Aircraft now lies upside down in approximately 37m of water.
On the pictures, notice the landing gear is down. You can see the engines and forward fuselage, cannons, and inside the heat shield tubes. We can also see the cannon mechanisms close up (at back of fuselage). One cannon has broken away, and is now sticking up!!
Enjoy the Dive!!!!
And don’t forget to check this video we have just made about the combo of this dive together with the Statue of Christ. Bristol Beaufighter WWII plane is among the best dives in the north of Malta.