Dornier Do17 Aircraft Successfully Lifted from English Channel - 13/06/2013

On 11 June 2013, experts from the UK's RAF Museum salvaged the Dornier Do17 Luftwaffe aircraft – which was shot down offshore Kent more than 70 years ago – and brought it into port. A previous attempt to lift the aircraft from its resting place 50 feet below the surface on 2 June was thwarted by bad weather when a sudden increase in wind strength made the sea too choppy to complete the lift.

Following that abortive effort, lifting equipment was attached to what were believed to be the strongest parts of the aircraft’s frame in order to raise it whole in a single lift, instead of constructing a cage around it, which had been the original plan.

The wreck is believed to be the aircraft with call-sign 5K-AR, which was shot down on 26 August 1940 at the height of the Battle of Britain.

Two of the 4 crew members died and were buried elsewhere, and 2 – including the pilot – survived to become prisoners of war. The existence of the aircraft at Goodwin Sands became known when it was spotted by divers in 2008. In 2010, a survey by Wessex Archaeology revealed more details about the plane and its positiong.

A 2-year restoration of the aircraft will now take place at the RAF Museum’s conservation centre in Cosford, Shropshire. Members of the public will be able to see the Dornier while it is being conserved. The recovery and conservation of the Dornier, together with next year’s new exhibition ‘The Great War in the Air’, are the first steps in transforming the RAF Museum as part of the national and international programme marking the centenary of the Royal Air Force in 2018.

Image: The Dorner Do17 resting on the sea bed. Image courtesy: RAF Museum, Wessex Archaeology.

Last updated: 06/06/2020