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  Corsair Mark I Serial Number JT160 Fuselage Number 3BH
Royal Navy
Fleet Air Arm
732 Squadron

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ROV video still 2003
Pilot  S/Lt Raymond L. Knott, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (MIA / KIA) Grantham, Lincolnshire
Crashed  May 16, 1944

Aircraft History
Built by Vought. This aircraft was number 15 in the sequence of production. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F4U-1 Corsair bureau number 18182. Other sources state Corsair JT160 never had a USN bureau number assigned. This Corsair was delivered to the United Kingdom as part of defense aid.

Wartime History
Assigned to the Royal Navy (RN) to the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) as Corsair Mark I serial number JT160 (also listed as JT-160). Painted with sea gray upper surfaces and sky gray lower surfaces. Assigned to HMS Saker to 732 Squadron operating from NAS Brunswick in Brunswick, Maine. Fuselage code 3BH painted in black and outlined in white.

Mission History
On May 16, 1944 this Corsair took off from NAS Brunswick in Brunswick, Maine piloted by S/Lt Raymond L. Knott on a low level flight training mission. During the flight, collided with Corsair JT132 over Sebago Lake in Maine and both aircraft crashed into the lake. When they failed to return both were officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

After the crash, a search of Sebago Lake failed to locate either pilot or the wreckage of their Corsairs.

Both Gill and Ray Knott were officially declared dead the day of the mission and assigned as personnel to HMS Sakar. Both are listed as missing in action. Both are memorialized at the Lee-On-Solent Memorial on bay 5, panel 7.

This Corsair is located underwater at the bottom of Sebago Lake, Maine. The Corsair rests on its nose with both wings torn off the fuselage. The right wing is located approximately 100' from the fuselage. The landing gear is extended and the canopy is open position. The other aircraft, Corsair JT132 has never been located but is estimated to have crashed roughly 1.3 miles away.

During 1998, Historic Aircraft Recovery Corporation (HARC) owners David Tallichet and Alfred Hagen conducted a sonar survey of Sebago Lake, Maine. They located an aircraft wreck at a depth of 300' and afterwards initiated a court action to arrest the wreck. as part of their attempt to claim title to the submerged aircraft. On June 21, 2003 HARC secured an arrest order and paid a fee, so the court document could be placed into a container and secured to the aircraft. In fact, the aircraft they located was a postwar amphibian, not the Corsair.

In 2003, a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) funded by Historic Aircraft Recovery Corporation (HARC) conducted a dive on a submerged aircraft wrapped in fishing lines that was identified as this Corsair. The ROV footage confirmed the identity including the fuselage Royal Navy roundel, fuselage code "3BH" and black serial number stencil "ROYAL NAVY JT 160" and fin flash on the tail. The cockpit canopy was in the open position with the seat visible and unidentified debris on the forward side of the cockpit.

After the discovery and potential savlage of this Corsair was announced, the State of Maine issued two emergency site declarations to make it illegal to salvage the submerged aircraft without a permit from the state and an emergency protection zone around the site. Maine believed the aircraft were "eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places". Also, the United Kingdom also voiced objections over the potential salvage, citing the fact that both aircraft are the military graves of the two British pilots who died aboard them.

In the final court ruling, U. S. District Court District of Maine in Admiralty - Historic Aircraft Recovery Corp. plaintiff v. State of Maine and the United Kingdom November 24, 2003 the salvage was overruled, ruling that US Admiralty Law (and arrest claims) did not apply to the aircraft in Sebago Lake and dismissed the case, blocking the potential salvage, ruling in favor of the wishes of Maine and the United Kingdom. The ruling was also a moral victory because the proposed salvage involved two war graves and was a commercial venture.

British Military Aircraft Serials, 1911-1979 by Bruce Robertson page 260
Corsair IV page 98 - states F4U-1 Corsair JT-160 never had a U. S. Navy bureau number assigned
Navy Serial Number Search Results - Vought F4U-1 Corsair 18182
"18182 (JT160) crashed into Sebago Lake, ME May 16, 1944 (had possibly collided with Corsair JT132 (BuNo 18154). Pilot killed."
CWGC - Raymond Laurence Knott
Associated Press (AP) "Two WWII fighter planes will remain submerged" November 25, 2003
U. S. District Court District of Maine in Admiralty - Historic Aircraft Recovery Corp. plaintiff v. State of Maine and the United Kingdom November 24, 2003 [PDF]
Court Listener - Historic Aircraft Rec. Corp. v. Wrecked and Aband. F4u-1, 294 F. Supp. 2d 132 (D. Me. 2003)

YouTube "Royal Navy Corsair JT160 in Sebago Lake Dive video" published April 23, 2013
"This is footage taken around 2003, of 1 of 2 Vought F4U Corsairs that collided during training on May 16, 1944. Both Royal Navy pilots were killed. They were both out of Naval Air Station Brunswick and Sebago Lake was used as a safe place to train young pilots on how to fly over water. The Corsair shown is # JT160, and the second one it collided with sits 1.3 miles away. She is sitting on her nose straight up and down, both wings were torn from the fuselage, and the right wing is 100 feet from the rest of the plane. The landing gear was down (she is equipped with a tailhook) when she crashed (not sure why) and the Canopy is open. Maybe the pilot tried to get out before she sank? The men behind the dive was David Tallichet, A well known warbird collector and WWII bomber pilot, and Alfred Hagen..."
Finding The Fallen Chapter 9 The Corsairs of Lake Sebago

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Last Updated
September 30, 2019


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