1928 Latham expedition.

Wreckage – Float, found 31 August 1928.

On 31 August 1928, the crew of the fishing vessel Brodd discovered a damaged float in the water at Torsvåg lighthouse in Karlsøy municipality. The float was transported to Tromsø, where it was examined by officers from the ship Michael Sars and the French transport ship Durance, as well as the French consul. They all thought that this could be a float from Latham 47.02. In Tromsø, the float was loaded on board the Durance which took it on to Bergen, where it was identified by the same people who had repaired it during Amundsen’s stopover in Bergen on 17 June 1928.

The float in Tromsø. The repair made in Bergen before departure can be seen underneath in the front. Photo: Norwegian Polar Institute.
The hole in the front. Photo: Norwegian Polar Institute.

The float’s dimensions were measured as:
Length: 2.32 m
Maximum width: 56 cm
Maximum height: 58 cm
Its colour was described as blue-grey.

Aftenposten printed the first photographs of the float. The picture in the middle shows the float as it was found. In front on the left side is a large hole. At the top left is a drawing of the float’s front in which both the hole and the repair made in Bergen are visible, next to a portrait of Captain Hareide of the Brodd. At the top right is a picture of the float being taken in for examination. Source: Aftenposten 5.9.1928. 📜

Based on these measurements, comparisons were made with one of Latham 47.02‘s sister aircraft at the Caudebec-en-Caux plant, which confirmed that it was an identical float. It was also discovered that a piece of wood had been used to attempt a repair to one of the struts and that there was a large gash in the front on the left side, about 20 centimetres long.

The discovery of the float led to theories that the Latham had crashed either in the sea or onto the ice. Some French newspapers also believed that the crew of the Latham had used the float as a “post bottle” and wanted it to be examined internally for any messages, but further investigations found nothing to support this.

From Bergen, the float was taken to Paris, where it was examined by people from the French Ministry of the Navy.

The float after arrival in France. Photo: “Parcours de vies dans la Royale”.
Photo: “Parcours de vies dans la Royale”.

After the investigations in 1928, the float remained in France. It was handed over to Le Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace near Paris, and is now on display at Le musée de l’hydraviation de Biscarosse.

“The last message from our dear Roald”, wrote Amundsen’s good friend Fritz Gottlieb Zapffe on this picture of the float that he sent to Amundsen’s sister-in-law Malfred Amundsen. Photo: Follo museum, MiA / Private collection.
Roald Amundsen born July 16
Starts at Otto Andersen’s School
Jens Engebreth Amundsen dies
1887 – 1889
Polar interest aroused
Starting university
Gustava Amundsen (née. Sahlqvist) dies
Mountain ski tour with Urdahl and Holst
Hunting in Arctic waters with the Magdalena
Ship’s Officer’s exam
Hardangervidda with Leon
1897 – 1899
Belgica expedition
Cycling from Christiania to Paris
Studying geomagnetism in Hamburg
1903 – 1906
Gjøa expedition
Polar bears as draft animals
Amundsen buys Uranienborg
The North Pole reached?
1910 – 1912
Fram expedition
Amundsen becomes a pilot
1916 – 1917
The polar ship Maud is being built
Maud expedition
Nita and Camilla move in
Uranienborg for sale
Amundsen goes bankrupt
To 88 degrees north
Norge expedition
Lecture tour in Japan
Latham flight
1928 Latham expedition. Wreckage – Float, found in 1928.
1934 – 1935
Uranienborg becomes a museum
Betty’s house burns down
A chest full of photographs is discovered
Roald Amundsen’s home goes digital