Rare German bomber found on the Goodwin Sands
A rare German wartime bomber found on
the Goodwin Sands will be raised - 70 years after it was blasted
out of the sky.
The aircraft - believed to be the last
of its kind - was downed during the height of the Battle of Britain
It was part of a large enemy formation
intercepted by RAF fighters at midday on August 26, 1940.
Loaded with 2000lb of bombs, the
twin-engined Dornier 17s - known as The Flying Pencils - had been
sent to bomb airfields in Essex.
But British fighters attacked the
Dorniers at 13,000ft over Deal before they had reached their
The RAF claimed at least six Dorniers
were destroyed and one damaged for the loss of three of its own
aircraft and two air gunners killed.
One bomber, flown by Feldwebel (Flt
Sgt) Willi Effmert, tried a wheels-up landing on the Goodwin
He touched down safely and the
aircraft sank inverted.
Effmert and his observer were captured
but the other crewmen died and their bodies were washed ashore
Museum bosses have said the aircraft
is in remarkable condition – considering the events surrounding its
loss plus the effects of spending so many years under water.
It is largely intact, the main
undercarriage tyres remain inflated and the propellers clearly show
the damage inflicted during their final landing.
Since the Dornier emerged from the
sands two years ago, the RAF Museum has worked with Wessex
Archaeology to complete a full survey of the wreck site.
It is to prepare for the
aircraft’s recovery and eventual exhibition at Hendon where it will
form a centre-piece in the recently-announced Battle of Britain
Work to conserve and prepare the
Dornier for display will be undertaken at the RAF Museum’s
conservation centre at Cosford.
Air Vice-Marshal Peter Dye, director
general of the RAF Museum, said: "The discovery of the Dornier is
of national and international importance.
"The aircraft is a unique and
unprecedented survivor from The Battle of Britain.
"It is particularly significant
because, as a bomber, it formed the heart of the Luftwaffe assault
and the subsequent Blitz."
The RAF Museum, with the support of
English Heritage and the Ministry of Defence, is now developing a
There is concern, however, that
material has recently been removed illegally from the wreck site -
although a number of items have now been retrieved.
Air Vice-Marshal Dye said: "The
Dornier will provide an evocative and moving exhibit that will
allow the museum to present the wider story of the Battle of
Britain and highlight the sacrifices made by the young men of both
air forces and from many nations."
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