Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ontario sisters find piece of WWII U.S. bomber plane at lake

SARNIA, Ont. -- A group of local girls have stumbled upon a significant piece of Second World War history that’s resurfaced from the depths of Lake Huron. 

 Amy Cooper, 13, and sister Lisa, 12, were swimming with friends at the Sarnia Riding Club beach Sunday when they stumbled upon a piece of twisted metal buried in the sandy floor of the lake several feet from shore.

“My concern was that someone was going to get hurt so we decided to try to dig it out,” Amy said. “There was only a foot showing and once we realized it was longer than that, it was more difficult to get out.”

Lisa, who first spotted the treasure under water, thought it was a licence plate until she saw the identification tags.

“I read it and I thought, ‘Oh, it’s an airplane piece.’ But the other girls didn’t believe me at first,” she said.

As it turns out, the hunk of metal came from a P-47 Thunderbolt, one of the main fighter-bombers used by U.S. Army Air Forces in the Second World War.

Each single-piston engine bomber was loaded with eight .50-calibre machine guns, which proved to be mighty during ground attacks in the European and Pacific theatres.

Several units of U.S. airmen trained on the planes at the Selfridge Army Air Field, near Mount Clemens, Mich., including members of the now famous Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American pilots in the U.S. Army.

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