After several weeks of salvage attempts, a German Dornier Do 17 bomber – believed to be the only surviving intact example of the type in the world – has been salvaged from the Goodwin Sands, off the Kent coast. Image courtesy of Getty Images/Peter Macdiarmid.
The Dornier Do 17 was discovered by divers in 2008 and sonar scans by the RAF Museum, Wessex Archaeology and the Port of London Authority eventually confirmed the identity of the aircraft. This led to a grant in excess of £345,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund being issued to support the salvage of the unique Luftwaffe aircraft.
The Dornier Do 17 was believed to have been downed over the English Channel on 26 August 1940 at the height of the Battle of Britain, and, until this evening, it lay in 50ft of water on the Goodwin Sands, off the Kent coast. Adverse weather conditions had delayed the RAF Museum’s salvage attempt in recent weeks, however, the conditions on the evening of 10 June were just right for the recovery operation to successfully take place.
The Dornier will now be transported to the RAF Museum’s restoration facility at RAF Cosford for a period of approximately two years, prior to display at the RAF Museum Hendon, in London. The restoration process should see the aircraft placed in two hydration tunnels and sprayed with water, citric acid and sodium hydroxide to prevent further corrosion. Each tunnel is 20 metres in length, seven metres wide and 3.5 meters high, with 36 nozzles installed in the ceiling of the tunnels.
For further information, photographs and video footage as it happens, visit the RAF Museum’s Do 17 Project website.