The Mark 1 Sunderland T9044 lays on the seabed off Pembroke Dock following a violent storm in 1940. The Pembroke Dock Sunderland Trust aims to bring the stricken aircraft to the surface before 2015 – the 75th Anniversary of that terrible event.
More than a year before the first prototype was built, the RAF ordered 21 production examples of the Mark I Sunderland flying-boat.
With a deeper hull and turrets on the nose and tail, it was a military version of the Empire crafts used by Imperial Airways.
Desperate to roll out the new model, the Air Ministry filed an order in 1937 to strengthen defences. The first was received in Singapore in June 1938.
By the start of the war, they had a fleet of 40, which acted as one of the major components of the UK’s overseas operations for at least the first few months. In total, 75 were built.
Initially, it carried 910kg of bombs, mines and other weaponry. A year into the war, amendments were made to combat Nazi tactics.
Two Vickers K machine guns were attached to the wing, a second gun was added to the nose turret, and constant speed propellers and deicing boots were installed.
Many were kept at Pembroke Dock