6, 1996, Les Lecques's bay (La Ciotat's bay east), 140ft of depth !
Camilleri, professional diver and director of Lecques Aquanaut Center,
in Saint-Cyr, discovers the wreck of P-38 Lightning laying on its back
on a sandy bottom. The American twin-engine is literally covered with
fishing nets, and it will be necessary to make more than 200 divings on
the site, before the wreck take this fabulous aspect we know today.
The story of this plane is close from La Ciotat's
P-38 (pilot s/lt James G Riley), because shot down close the same
conditions, the same day, at only a few minutes of intervals (3 marine
miles separate the two wrecks) and part of the same squadron, even same
January 27, 1944, the
14th Fighter Group of 15th USAAF, equipped with P-38 Lightning, escort
B-17 bombers coming to destroy the airfield of Salon-de-Provence.
We are in during d-day of Anzio's beaches , and the
allies don't progress advance, because there is a lot of German air
raids, coming from the bases located in the Rhône's delta.
The bombardment of
Salon-de-Provence's aifield will be proceed under a terrible Flak,
while German fighters are still working : they are 3 times in number
than the allied escort!
One B-17 will be shot
down (crash in the area of Lançon-de-Provence), while 2 P-38 will not
return... of which that of Les Lecques.
The P-38 of Lecques will be identified by Marcel
Camilleri thanks to the discovery of a plate (the radio operator call
number) always riveted on the dashboard. It was the P-38 G 15-LO,
serial 43-2545, piloted by s/lt Harry H. Greenup.
Contrary to its unlucky companion of combat which
disappeared with his plane in La Ciotat's bay, Harry Greenup does a
perfect sea landing, and was found swimming while his plane sank. A
high-speed motorboat reach him, raising a flag with swastika.
Greenup was made prisoner of war and came back home
in april 1945.
Tragic destiny after
having escaped from an aerial fight and survived a sea landing in the
Mediterranean, 11 years later, then married and father of 4 children,
Harry Greenup in company of his wife and two friends lose the control
of his car in a turn close to Denver, Colorado, and fall in the tumults
of the large river.
If the two friends
survived, the bodies without life of the pilot and his wife will be
found only several days later, far downstream from the area of their