The Bristol Beaufighter lies upside down in nearly 40 meters of clear water on a sandy bottom. The wings and center fuselage still intact, but the rest mostly buried in the sand. Both undercarriage frames and shredded tires stick up from their wing position behind the engines. One of the propellers is still intact to the engine, partly buried. Maximum depth is 38 meters.
The Beaufighter was introduced into the coastal command as a strike fighter, where its gun armament was retained but rockets and torpedoes were added, giving it even greater fire power. The 5562 Beaufighters earned a considerable reputation in the Middle and Far East during the Second World War. After its withdrawal from operational use, many Bristol Beaufighters were converted to target tug duties and in fact the last flight of the type in Royal Air Force service took place on 17 May 1960 when a TT10 made a final target towing flight from Seletar.
On 17 March 1943, this Beaufighter left Malta on a mission. However as soon as she took off, mechanical problems led the aircraft to start vibrating and it began to lose altitude:
“On 17th March 1943 at 1125 hours nine Beaufighters of No 272 squadron took off to escort nine Beauforts of No 39 Squadron on a shipping strike of Point Stelo. At 1138 hours Beau fighter ‘N,’ with Sgt Donald Frazee at the controls and Sgt Sandery as observer, began to vibrate violently and lost speed rapidly. There was no option but to ditch the aircraft and this was accomplished at 100mph in a slight swell about 1000 yards off Dragonara Point, Sliema. As all this took place close to shore, persons watching informed Fighter Control but Maltese dghajsas reached the crew some five minutes before rescue launch HSL 166 arrived on the spot. The air crew was transferred to the launch.
(Extract taken from page 227 of the book Call Out, a wartime diary of air/sea rescue operations in Malta by Frederick R. Galea).