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Thunderbolt P47 Recovery 21/04/08

We will remember them.

This is a record of the recovery of , P47 42-8420.

Pilot 430915    ROBERT G DURLIN,

 LOST/OUT OF FUEL, 15th September 1943.

Returning from an escort mission to the Paris area the Pilot bailed out safely after becoming lost and runing out of fuel due to compass failure. Some interesting pieces came out, mainly engine and ancillaries. The plane hit solid shale at about eight feet so the recovery crew didn't have too difficult a job.

This successful recovery was carried out last weekend which did not look promising due to the bad weather, however with a excellent landowner not wanting us to get wet and a clear opening in the sky, a full recovery was achieved with the help of a few cups of cream tea, Cornish pasties and clotted cream, scones & jam greatfully supplied to the team by the farmer.

As a boy the landowner actually saw the Thunderbolt crash on his farm in a late September evening in 1943, the pilot bailing out safely.

Luckily for the team, with witnesses becoming increasing difficult to find he remembered exactly where it crashed, saying that he remembered the recovery team giving up trying to retrieve the aircraft from the smoking crater 64 years ago. He took us out into the open field and said its here. He was only 15ft from the impact point located by our magnetometer which indicated the remains of a large radial buried.

All the necessary permissions were obtained off the MOD to recover the American fighter and a licence was granted.

Still a lot of cleaning to do on the engine and artic facts yet but after close inspection even the Merlin boys would fail to get this running despite its preservation in the mud with all its paint still good as new

Report by Gareth Jones

Unfortunately Spitfire Spares was unable to attend this recovery. The pictures were supplied by the recovery team and are copyright. If you wish to use them please contact me and I will request permission from the team.

Graham Adlam





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