Thunderbolt P47 Recovery 21/04/08
We will remember them.
This is a record of the recovery of ,
ROBERT G DURLIN,
LOST/OUT OF FUEL, 15th
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
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
and I will request permission from the team.