Watch CBS News

Glenn Miller's lost plane might have been found by a fisherman decades ago

Glenn Miller's airplane may have been found
Mysterious disappearance of Glenn Miller's airplane might be solved 02:51

The disappearance of bandleader Glenn Miller during World War II has remained one of aviation's greatest mysteries. But intriguing clues from beneath the waves could finally be providing some answers.

In the late 1930s and early 40s there was no bigger musical act than Miller and his orchestra. The big band leader wrote and performed dozens of top ten hits and sold millions of records but in the midst of World War II, Miller gave up his lucrative career and enlisted in the military, where he led the U.S. Army Air Force band. It was in his service to his country that Miller lost his life.

Anxious to bring his band to troops on the European front, Miller took off from England on December 15, 1944, bound for Paris. His plane disappeared over the English Channel, and the fate of Miller's lost flight has been a mystery ever since.

Ric Gillespie from the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, or TIGHAR, said an English fisherman has provided the most solid lead in decades on where to find the wreckage of Miller's plane.

"In 1987 trawling in the English Channel, he pulled up an airplane wreck that he later realized looked like the kind of airplane that Glenn Miller disappeared in. He called the Coast Guard and described it. They said, 'Well, if it's a World War II plane it might be a war grave, just get rid of it,'" Gillespie said.

The fisherman made a note of where he dropped the wreckage but it wasn't until years later when he saw a picture of what Miller's Norseman aircraft looked like that he realized what he might have discovered.

Gillespie, who has extensively researched Amelia Earhart's disappearance, said if the wreckage can be found, tracing it back to Miller should be an easy task since it was the only aircraft of its body and engine type to go missing during the war.

"You find the steel tube fuselage, you find the engine, you found the Miller airplane," Gillespie said.

It would put an end to one of America's greatest unsolved mysteries.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.