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Aviation Archaeology in France

2022

Wessex Archaeology has again been helping the RAF Museum’s efforts to conserve and display the unique Battle of Britain Dornier 17 wreck recovered from the Goodwin Sands last year. Working with French and British air crash recovery experts, and with the help of the French local authorities, volunteers from Wessex Archaeology and Belgian company ADEDE catalogued hundreds of parts recovered from a World War II Dornier 17 wreck site on the beach at Berck-sur-Mer, near Boulogne, as well as scouring the beach itself for further parts of the aircraft.
 
The wreckage is now being transported to the RAF Museum’s conservation facility at Cosford, where the Goodwins Dornier is being conserved. Many of the parts recovered from the beach at Berck are missing from the Goodwins Dornier, so they will contribute to what will eventually be a very impressive and important exhibition on the aircraft.
 
 
Historical images courtesy of ADEDE
2021
 
 
These pictures show the Dornier on the beach at Berck in occupied France, shortly after it crashed. The soldiers milling around are probably part of the German garrison of this stretch of the coastline – Berck was part of Hitler’s ‘Atlantic Wall’, a continuous line of formidable fortifications built on the French coast to oppose the expected Allied invasion. Also pictured is some of the wreckage laid out as it would have been arranged in the aircraft – you can clearly see the bomb bay doors.
 
 
By Graham Scott
 
 
 
 
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