In August 2011 45 pieces of aircraft wreckage were dredged from the seabed during work to deepen the shipping channel in the Thames Estuary. Subsequent investigations by Wessex Archaeology, for developer DP World London Gateway, including geophysical survey, diving, record searches and finally the lifting of the wreckage to the surface, have revealed the fascinating history of these scattered remains.
The aircraft was an experimental prototype, a Junkers Ju 88 T, which was flown by veteran test pilots from a secretive Luftwaffe unit. On April 20 1943, while on a reconnaissance mission to Chelmsford in Essex, it was shot down by a decorated Norwegian fighter ace, and for the last 70 years it lay in the darkness of the estuary.
This story has been told for the first time in Archaeology from the Sky: The Air War over the Thames Estuary, a DP World London Gateway and Wessex Archaeology publication which is now available online.
To see the booklet or find out more about this project follow this link.