Eric Wiberg – A budget and a dream that became a passion



Bomber on a budget.

That’s what I chose to name my pyric missions to find the metal and scraps of old World War II aircraft in our country. While it may seem glamorous, the main ways I find things is still basic: research the hell out of the topic in every database and archive you can, get to the site and ask as many people as you can about what they know – often what they don’t know is more informative that you are in the wrong place – and finally, get dirty, get wet, get cut up: if you don’t you probably won’t find plane.



An important person in this process as I began it in middle aged and recently divorced, having been away from home from ages 12 to 52, was our mother, Jane McDermid Wiberg, who passed after a long illness at Christmas time in 2022. I went home to Cable Beach to see her for a week, which turned into a month. Unable to mope around at home, I fixated on the first World War II plane I found, and went out alone swimming after in Delaporte Bay, sometimes dawn, midday and dusk, up to five hours a day.

My tools? A $50 inflatable pool raft which I named Clementine due to its orange colour and that was Churchill’s wife’s name. I bought a dumbbell and tied floating ski rope around it and used that basic equipment and a $60 children’s mask and snorkel and fins set I bought to find the B-26 Marauder. I never used a motor, but a kindly captain did tow me to shore once when I was sinking trying to drag the coaming of a large engine half a mile to shore.

What is my point? It’s simply that most of the 150 air wrecks from the war in The Bahamas took place either on land or in shallow enough water that the planes can be found. Most errors and collisions took place taking off and landing at airfields, and pilots in distress were smart enough to head for land, for beaches and coastlines, to improve their survivability. This means that most of the wrecks, even the ones going back to the 1930s, are accessible to persons in the Bahamas, and that for the most part a sturdy pair of shoes, mask and snorkel, and grit and determination are enough to find them.



I was extremely fortunate in that eight persons loaned me vessels, whether 20ft or 59ft, for between 20 minutes and over a month. The generosity and empathy of those kind souls, as well as the hundreds of volunteers in archives, in genealogical sites, on the ground in cities ports and villages we visited, and just friendly helpful persons online who helped with so many details, all deserve my thanks.

Not to draw attention back to myself, but if I were to inspire others to attempt feats like going from “found no aircraft” to “found ten of them” in 14 months, I would say that it is up to each of us to become well informed about our chosen interest, and then be able to communicate, to package and highlight what you’ve learned so as to effect, infect, inspire and motivate others to assist – often not with direct investment, but rather with giving and lending their time and expertise. That is why I am so grateful to the editors of the Nassau Tribune, for ZNS presenter Spence Finlayson, to the RBDF who came out to help me, publishers, readers, and Howard, Amanda, John, Rich, Phicol and the many others who shared their resources.

I would encourage others to find something they are genuinely interested and passionate about, try to focus on areas which have not been already combed over, be ready to pivot, as I did, away from U-boats and maritime to the RAF and aviation since the latter offered many more accessible WWII wrecks.

Lastly, our mother inspired us to give something back; as I child I watched as she spoon-fed an elderly woman who had worked for us in her home behind Nassau. She has donated scholarships for girls in particular to buy tennis equipment with and get a start in the sport she so loved. Do it, she would admonish us as we practiced tennis before school: do it. It goes back to Goethe, and really inside each of us:

Whatever you dream you can do, BEGIN IT.


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