Les Lecques's P-38 Lightning, Var, France
Pilot : second lieutenant Harry H. Greenup
 
Mission
Date
January 27, 1944
Base
Foggia, Italy
 
Target
Bombers escort
Zone of crash
Sea (-140ft), Les Lecques's bay, Var, France
Plane
Type
P-38G-15-LO
Serial
43-2545
Squadron
15th AF, 14th FG
Crew
1
Pilot
S/Lt
 
 
November 6, 1996, Les Lecques's bay (La Ciotat's bay east), 140ft of depth !

Marcel 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.

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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 Fighter Group!

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 accident.

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