Friday 10 September 2010

Battle of Britain KG 3 Dornier Do 17 Z recovery wreck lifted from the English Channel - latest page update 10 June 2013

Above; war-time image of  a KG Dornier Do 17 and crew  - (not Effmert's KG 3 machine as shot down on 26 August 1940) and below; a Dornier 17 Z of KG 2

more on the Do 17 Z sub-type on this blog

latest news on the recovery 11 June - Dornier 17 lifted from the English Channel  

On Monday 10 June the Royal Air Force Museum lifted the Dornier 17 off the bottom of the English Channel. After two years of planning, the Museum finally achieved a successful lift with conditions around the Goodwin Sands on Monday evening with calm seas and no wind offering a window of opportunity to lift the Dornier 17 following the aborted attempt on 6 June. In the end the salvage team abandoned the 'cradle lift' plan and took the risk of simply attaching the lift cables to the wreck  - note that in the pictures above the aircraft is on its back..

This morning (11 June) dive director Dave Franklin has confirmed that the team are still diving in the hope of locating more parts from the wreck and that the barge and Dornier wreckage are not due into the harbour at Ramsgate, Kent until later on this afternoon (11 June). Meanwhile Andy Saunders appeared on the BBC's regional news programmes to state that he was doubtful that this machine was indeed Effmert's KG 3 machine.....

On board with the wreck

".. the Royal Air Force Museum has been hugely encouraged by the support we have received from across the globe. Not only has this taken the form of messages of goodwill, but the Museum has received substantial additional funding from private individuals and organisations in both Europe and America.

After studying the long range weather forecast, the Museum will make another attempt at raising the Dornier 17 late next week (the week ending 16th June), as soon as an appropriate weather window presents itself. As soon as the Museum is confident that it can make an attempt we will inform the public via our social media platforms and website of this...."

A rare German wartime bomber has been discovered on the Goodwin Sands, off Deal, Kent, seventy years after it was shot down during the height of the Battle of Britain. With a crew of four and loaded with 2000 lb of bombs, the aircraft, a twin-engined Dornier 17 - known universally as 'The Flying Pencil' - was part of a large enemy formation intercepted by RAF fighter aircraft at midday on 26 August 1940 as they attempted to attack airfields in Kent or Essex. (above, Do 17 of KG 2 displaying this unit's diving eagle emblem..)

Boulton Paul Defiant fighters attacked the Dorniers of KG 3 at 13,000 ft over Deal in Kent before they had reached their intended target. They claimed at least six Dorniers destroyed and one damaged for the loss of three of their own aircraft and two air gunners killed. One of the Dorniers, flown by Feldwebel (Flt Sgt) Willi Effmert, attempted a wheels-up landing on the Goodwin Sands. He touched down safely and the aircraft sank inverted. Effmert and his observer were captured but the other crewmen died and their bodies were washed ashore later.

More at the RAF Museum's web site

RAF Museum Dornier 17 conservation project

Edit:  11 April 2011

Story related by the BBC's ' The One Show' and subsequently picked up by the BBC who interview the RAF Museum's Ian Thirsk

" ...The discovery of a unique German warplane off the Kent coast left experts "incredulous". New images suggest the Dornier 17 is still intact and there are hopes that it will go on show. They called it "the flying pencil": a slim, elegant aircraft originally designed in 1934 to carry passengers, which by the start of World War II had been converted into a deadly weapon of war. The Dornier 17 was one of the mainstays of the Luftwaffe bombing fleets which began their assault on British cities and RAF airfields in the summer of 1940, in what became known as the Battle of Britain. A total of 1,700 Dorniers were built, but the plane discovered in Goodwin Sands is thought to be the last remaining one. Dornier 17 Z-2, serial number 1160, of number 7 squadron, 3 Group, third Bomber Wing, was shot down on 26 August 1940 and made an emergency landing in the sea just off the Kent coast. Two of the four crew members died, two - including the pilot - survived to become prisoners of war...."

On 2/3 of June 2010 the Royal Air Force Museum in conjunction with Wessex Archaeology conducted a survey off Goodwin Sands to examine the wreck of Dornier 17 Z-2 WNr.1160 of 7./KG3. Here we show part of the survey

Edit 04 May 2013

Operations to raise the Dornier have begun off the Kent coast - weather conditions are fine currently with a highs of 20-23 C forecast for next week. However as the aircraft was constructed from aluminium which corrodes badly in sea-water the chances are that not much of the wreck will survive - according to some German experts based at the Deutsche Technik Museum in Berlin. However some parts already brought to the surface have been successfully cleaned up by treating them in citric acid - lemon juice in other words. The wreck is so fragile that a special 'lifting frame' will be constructed under water around it, an operation that will take some 3-4 weeks. Once brought to the surface it will spend up to 18 months in a tented 'spray unit' being showered in citric acid to both clean the airframe and stop the corrosion.

The current state of the operation to recover the Dornier is being reported on the BBC's web site at this link - however it appears that while a lift was to be attempted last weekend (01-02 June) operations have halted due to the keen northerly wind still blowing

latest from the RAF Museum's Facebook page