Director: Douglas Stanley
During World War 2, the most ominous ending to the broadcast reports on raids on the enemy was “Some of our aircraft are missing". And during the War, Holland was for military aircraft, German and Allied alike, what the Sargos Sea was for ancient sailing ships. Between 1940 and 45, more than 7,000 aircraft crashed in Holland.
Nearly 1,000 lie at the bottom of the Ijsselmeer, the dammed lake which was formerly known as the Zuiderzee. Since 1960 Dutch engineering teams have been pumping the waters ofthe Ijsselmeer into the North Sea in order to reclaim valuable new farming land. In the process, they have found many wrecks from crashed aircraft.
In this remarkable record of a salvage operation, the Royal Netherlands Air Force Recovery teams are shown working the giant jig-saw puzzle which these finds generate. The discovery of the personal effects of airmen is perhaps the most poignant aspect of the work.
It enables the list of some 20,000 still missing aircrew to be gradually shortened. But the puzzle may never be completed. The documentary makes extensive use of archive film from German, British, and American sources, and includes interviews and statements from personnel who were involved in the operations.