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Human remains found at WWII bomber site in Netherlands

Tailgunner F.J. Cooper, from Canada. Image copyright Leemans Speciaal Werken
Image caption Canadian tailgunner F.J. Cooper lost contact with the crew during the attack

Human remains have been found during an operation to recover a World War Two Lancaster bomber submerged in a lake.

The Avro Lancaster of 61 Squadron crashed in a Dutch lake during a night bombing run from the UK to Bremen, Germany, in 1942.

It is thought the remains of Canadian tailgunner F.J. Cooper were inside the crashed aircraft.

Efforts are now being made by officials to verify the remains as the missing airman.

The Lancaster R5682 crashed during the night of 4-5 September 1942 near Warten in Alde Feanen, now a national park, in northern Holland. It had flown from RAF Syerston in Nottinghamshire.

Three of its seven crewmen were killed, four managed to bail out and were captured.

It was part of a large-scale attack on Bremen which involved more than 250 aircraft.

Image copyright Leemans Speciaal Werken
Image caption The bomber was part of 61 Squadron, based in Lincolnshire

Evander Broekman, of aircraft recovery firm Leemans Speciaal Werken, said F.J. Cooper lost communication with the rest of the crew during a fighter attack.

It is thought the airman went down with the aircraft.

Talking about the find, Mr Brokman said the remains were discovered two days ago.

He said they chose to make an announcement earlier to coincide with a flypast from the Royal Dutch Airforce and the Lincolnshire-based Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Lancaster bomber.

It was part of a commemorative event to remember the crew.

Image caption The crew of the downed bomber were remembered at commemorative event held earlier
Image caption The Lancaster bomber from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight took part
Image caption Members of F.J. Cooper's family were also in attendance

Mr Broekman said the remains were now with the army's identification unit, who would make a decision on the probability they belonged to the missing airman.

"Hopefully, it will be good news," he added.

Image caption Various parts of the aircraft have also been recovered

The recovery team has also reclaimed two engines and the main fuselage from the downed bomber. Further work will take place over the coming days.

It is hoped parts of the aircraft could go on public display in the future.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The Lancaster crashed near Warten in Alde Feanen during World War Two

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