Diving Newfoundland’s World War Two wrecks with Jill Heinerth

Episode 60

RCGS Explorer-in-Residence Jill Heinerth discusses the discovery of a Second World War-era bomber 50 metres below the surface in Gander Lake, Newfoundland

  • May 23, 2023
Jill Heinerth and Rick Stanley with the RCGS flag. (Photo: Robert McClellan)
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In her Great Island Expedition, RCGS Explorer-in-Residence Jill Heinerth and her team went to raise the voices of lives, ships and an aircraft lost during the Second World War from the waters in and around Newfoundland.

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When we last had Jill Heinerth on the podcast, one of the stories she shared as she prepared for this diving expedition was about Lanier Phillips, an African-American mess attendant on a US Navy ship that sank off the coast of Newfoundland during the Second World War. Back then, African-Americans like Lanier Philips could only work the lowest jobs in the racially segregated US Navy. And they were warned by officers that if they ever went ashore anywhere, they’d be lynched by locals. With his ship going down in harsh winter seas off of southern Newfoundland, Lanier Philips convinced his fellow attendants that the risk of lynching was better than almost certain death on a sinking ship. What followed would change his life. On her Great Island Expedition, Jill and her team dove to the wreck of the ship Lanier Philips escaped from, among many other second world war dive sites.

Our conversation starts with her dive to an RCAF B-24 Liberator bomber that no one had seen since it crashed and sank in the cold, dark waters of Gander Lake 80 years ago, taking with it the lives of four young Canadian men.


Travel with Jill Heinerth

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Unveil the mysteries of the bygone Incan empire on this odyssey through the jungle wilds, lakes, colonial cities, floating villages and lost mountaintop city of Machu Picchu. This special departure of the incredibly popular Essential Peru adventure is led by writer, photographer, and filmmaker Jill Heinerth.

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