PP118 was a Mk V Sunderland flying boat assigned to 235 Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) on 29th Aug 1949 and flying under the registration number 'TA-G'. While moored at Calshot on the 3rd Feb 1950 a storm blew up and water entered the aircraft through an improperly secured hull access door and caused her to sink. By February 22nd she had been partially refloated and in order to reduce the risk of explosion from the fuel tanks, the marine markers were being removed from the aircraft. During this delicate operation an explosion did in fact occur and the two airmen working on the aircraft were thrown into the sea. Leading Aircraftman Peter 'Andy' Anderson (3059642) was nearby and navigated his boat through the water, that was ablaze with aviation fuel, and rescued the two men. Anderson was awarded the George Medal for his actions (see attachment).
Photo of Peter 'Andy' ANDERSON courtesy of his son, John ANDERSON.
Dive Wight and Hampshire (Site 31 Page 51) and various other publications suggest that PP118 remains on the seabed just off of Calshot, but this is almost definitely incorrect.
In January 2010 the Calshot Lifeboat mooring became entangled on an obstruction in 20m of water. Subsequent works revealed that the mooring had become entangled around a large propeller, identified as that of a Sunderland Flying Boat. This recovered propeller is visibly different from the ones seen in this photo taken shortly after the fire that destroyed PP118.
Wrecked PP118 photo courtesy of John ANDERSON.
We also have documentary evidence that shows the locations of the various events in 1950, and the fire aboard PP118 occured much closer to Fawley Power Station and in only a couple of metres of water. Finally we have a written report that states that following the above photo, an engine 'fell off' - the wreck at Calshot has 4 intact engines! We also have no reasonable explanation as to how or why the above aircraft would have been moved back into 20m of water and then become inverted with the wings remaining intact.
Andy's son,John, was interviewed by ITV Meridian in November 2013. The 3 minute story can be viewed on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151792917671452