Bristol Blenheim Recovery 15/07/07
We will remember them.
This is a record of the recovery of
Bristol Blenheim R3912 which crashed on the 5th of July 1942 after a
practise bombing mission. I was invited by my old friend
Tim Hake to attend I did not need to asked twice.
Tim initially discovered this aircraft ten years ago and after lots of red tape,
much hard work and persistence Tim finally gained a MOD licence to recover the
aircraft. There was a large team of keen like minded enthusiasts present. The
three man crew of this aircraft all lost their lives and as a mark of respect
some words were spoken and a minute's silence was observed
before the excavation commenced. The crew's bodies were recovered in 1942.
The team intend to erect a
permanent memorial at the site.
I will be adding more details about the
team and info on the crew but understandably Tim didn't have much time to give
me all the info on the day. I know their are several other
people and organisations who helped Tim to obtain his licence and and
they will be included in the credits when I have all the information.
Once the artefacts have been cleaned I will add more
picture's. This aircraft is substantially complete and a well deserved
result for Tim. From my point of view I found the whole event well organised and
a real joy to witness the recovery of this rare aircraft. It was every
enthusiast's dream to be involved, and spend a great day with a good bunch of
experienced and like minded people.
The Bristol Blenheim lost more aircrews than any other RAF aircraft in service
during World War Two.
Marking out the site
Note the balloon hangar to the
right in the distance. Did this cause the aircrafts demise? read on.
7.00 am. The early birds paying their respects to the
Crew. We were joined by a more substantial team and officials slightly later.
Tim Hake far right.
Not a flattering Picture of me on the right, I am slimmer
in real life honest!!! I certainly left at least a stone lighter. LOL
The digger and and other members of the team arrive.
The first find of the day a wing ballast weight this is
where it lay just under the topsoil.
Gareth recovers the aircrafts dingy note the green marker
Sorry the reflection messed up the picture, you can just
make out some engine valves.
The ammunition magazine, loaded. A licensed firearms
expert was present to deal with this.
Tim with a poignant piece. A part of one of the aircrews
mug. Note the made in England, how often do you see that these days????? We
found other parts of this mug in the meticulous excavation.
One of many dumpy bags filled with artefacts.
She starts to emerge.
Gareth with the aircrafts Gun compressor, the clay soil
had preserved most pieces in excellent condition.
A substantial piece is recovered.
One of the main undercarriage legs. Don't be fooled by the
picture, the leg itself was like new under the mud.
Mel examines a prop blade complete with hub and crank.
Once again the blade is like new under the mud.
Did this cause the crash. In 1942 the RAF were unable to
establish the cause of the crash due to the depth of the engines. The prop blade
shown has signs of hitting a balloon cable. Their was a barrage balloon used for
cable cutting tests within half a mile of the crash site and an eye witness
present today said that the cloud cover was very low on the day of the crash.
Did the aircraft make contact with this balloon??
The work goes on Tim on the spade.
The second engine appears.
The pleasant smell of oil and fuel known and loved by all
those who have recovered aircraft.
Are we there yet??? An experienced couple of Welsh
aircraft recovery experts centre and left advise the machine operator. The Welsh
certainly have mining in the blood. That was a bloody deep hole. They were
within inches of their prediction of engine number one at 14Ft.
A Rotax part
Note the prop blade and hub lifted from 14Ft down. The
rest of the engine was in bits.
Wrestling with the blade and its hub.
Searching the spoil.
A close up of the hub. Wait until you see it clean!!
Another dumpy bag full to the brim.
Another Rotax part
More recovered parts.
Sorry but my memory card was full at this point. Watch
this space for more information and picture's. Hope you enjoyed it.