Skip to main content

World War II German bomber raised from sea

By Brad Lendon, CNN
June 15, 2013 -- Updated 1727 GMT (0127 HKT)
The wreck of the German World War II Dornier Do-17 plane is transported on a barge to a harbor near Ramsgate, England, on Tuesday, June 11. The bomber was shot down during the Battle of Britain in 1940. The wreck of the German World War II Dornier Do-17 plane is transported on a barge to a harbor near Ramsgate, England, on Tuesday, June 11. The bomber was shot down during the Battle of Britain in 1940.
HIDE CAPTION
German bomber lifted from English Channel
German bomber lifted from English Channel
German bomber lifted from English Channel
German bomber lifted from English Channel
German bomber lifted from English Channel
German bomber lifted from English Channel
German bomber lifted from English Channel
German bomber lifted from English Channel
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • German bomber was shot down during Battle of Britain
  • Pilot made emergency landing in English Channel
  • Divers discovered the plane in 2008

(CNN) -- A World War II German bomber, likely the last of its kind, has been raised from the bottom of the English Channel and will be restored for display in a British museum.

"It has been lifted and is now safely on the barge and in one piece," Ajay Srivastava, a spokesman for RAF Museum, told the BBC.

The Royal Air Force shot down the Dornier Do-17 twin-engine medium bomber of the German Luftwaffe on August 26, 1940, during the Battle of Britain. It was one of 1,500 built by Germany and the last known to be in existence, according to the RAF Museum.

Germany employed more than 400 Dornier 17s during the Battle of Britain, and 200 of those were lost. Most wrecks were melted down and recycled into making planes and armaments for Britain, according to the museum.

The plane raised Monday was damaged in a battle with RAF Defiant fighters as it tried to attack airfields in Essex, the museum said. Its pilot made a belly landing on Goodwin Sands in the channel off Kent, and the plane sank upside down in about 50 feet of water. The pilot and another crew member who survived the crash were taken prisoner and sent to prisoner-of-war camps in Canada, the museum said. Two other crew members died.

Nazi diary found after decades-long hunt
Behind Operation Kindertransport

The plane remained undisturbed on the floor of the English Channel until divers spotted it in 2008.

"The aircraft is in remarkable condition -- considering the events surrounding its loss plus the effects of spending so many years under water," the museum's website says. "Other than marine concretion it is largely intact, the main undercarriage tires remain inflated and the propellers clearly show the damage inflicted during their final landing."

The museum then stepped in with a nearly million-dollar effort (about 600,000 pounds) to raise the craft and launch a restoration project.

"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," Air Vice-Marshal Peter Dye, director general of the RAF Museum, says on the museum's website.

"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," Dye says on the website.

Once the plane is ashore, it will be soaked in a citric acid solution to stop corrosion, the first step in a restoration process expected to take two years.

The plane then will go on display at the RAF Museum in north London.

See the RAF Museum's website with the complete story of the German bomber

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 2001 GMT (0401 HKT)
The U.S. has promised to supply and train "acceptable" rebels in Syria to counter ISIS. But who are they and are can the strategy work?
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 0257 GMT (1057 HKT)
Do the Chinese really like to mix their Bordeaux with Coca-Cola?
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 0938 GMT (1738 HKT)
Al Qaeda's new Syrian branch, Khorasan, is seeking new ways to attack America and Europe, with a top U.S. intelligence official saying it has "aspirations for attacks on the homeland."
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 0039 GMT (0839 HKT)
Branded an "extremist" by China's state-run media, Joshua Wong isn't even old enough to drive.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0655 GMT (1455 HKT)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised political pundits with his rapid rise to power. CNN meets the man behind the enigma.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Liverpool's Italian forward Mario Balotelli reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Liverpool and Ludogorets Razgrad at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool on September 16, 2014.
British police launched an investigation into abusive tweets sent to Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli.
September 21, 2014 -- Updated 2344 GMT (0744 HKT)
A woman who was texting her husband before he was killed reflects on the Westgate attack.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
The real secret to a faster commute has been with us all along -- the bus.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
13 brands retained their Top 20 status from last year, according to an annual survey.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1549 GMT (2349 HKT)
Think your new tattoo is cool? Look at how our ancestors did it and think again.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1100 GMT (1900 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT