RAF Museum's delight as World War II Dornier 17 bomber is rescued

By Culture24 Reporter | 11 June 2013

With its wings and engines intact and a new coat of aluminium applied to spare it further corrosion after 73 years beneath the sea, the Dornier 17 at the centre of one of the year’s most important archaeological excavations is heading to Cosford, with organisers at the RAF Museum declaring "absolute delight" at the eventual success of their mission.

A photo of an ancient aircraft being raised from the sea
© RAF Museum
High winds had forced the latest bid to dredge up the German World War II plane, on Sunday, to be called off. But on Monday evening, in one of two “weather windows” identified by experts, the crew aboard the HMS Apollo – which had returned to its Kent coast port four times in inclement conditions the previous Sunday – salvaged the aircraft from the English Channel.

It will be treated with citric spray during a conservation process in Cosford which is expected to take three years to complete. BBC One’s flagship Breakfast programme reported live from the scene at Goodwin Sands, where curators had remained confident despite a series of setbacks to their highly difficult operation.

“This incredibly complex and delicate operation was made possible by a dedicated team of museum staff and a wider group of partners and associates who gave their time, money or knowledge to help us achieve this goal,” said Peter Dye, the Director General of the museum.

“We would like to thank all those involved as we embark on the second stage of the project and deliver the aircraft to our conservation centre at Cosford.

“The recovery and conservation of the Dornier, together with next year’s exciting new exhibition, The Great War in the Air, are the first steps in transforming the Royal Air Force Museum as part of the national and international programme marking the Centenary of the Royal Air Force in 2018.

“Members of the public wishing to see the Dornier while it is being conserved are invited to do from this weekend onwards.”

More pictures:

A photo of an old sign on a German plane
© RAF Museum
A photo of a man monitoring screens on board a ship
© RAF Museum
A photo of a boat crew in high visibility jackets
© RAF Museum
A photo of a ship being drawn from the sea
© RAF Museum
A photo of an ancient plane being lifted from the sea with cranes
© RAF Museum
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