WWII Mosquito fighter-bomber rises from the mud

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WWII Mosquito fighter-bomber rises from the mud
16 Mar 07
The remains of a crashed De Haviland Mosquito World War II fighter-
bomber have been discovered in Milton Keynes.

Among the wreckage was one of the plane's Rolls-Royce Merlin engines,
guns and ammunition. The wooden fuselage had long since rotted away.

The wreck came to light during building work on a John Lewis
distribution centre. After striking a heavy object hidden in the mud
builders contacted the police who in turn brought in the Royal Air
Force when they realised it was part of a wreck.

The RAF team identifited the aircraft as being from No 51 Operational
Training Unit which had been based at RAF Cranfield in Bedfordshire.
The twin-engined aircraft had been on a routine training misson when
mechanical failure forced the pilot to bring it down in a field in
what was then Buckinghamshire and is now the outskirts of Milton
Keynes.

It took off on its ill-fated cross country night flight at 1735hrs on
14 January 1945. Pilot Warrant Officer Gavin Harvie and navigator
Sergeant Martin Sydney Card quickly discovered that some of the
Mosquito's equipment was malfunctioning and radioed a distress call
just minutes into the flight.

Changing course, they turned back towards RAF Cranfield while talking
to the ground controllers. The radio transmission suddenly went dead
and a flash was seen from the crash site.

John Munnelly, Senior Project Manager of the distribution centre,
said that uncovering the wreckage 60 years later was emotional:

"It was a moving experience being shown the crash site of the
aircraft, especially given that it is exactly where the entrance to
the site will be located."

There are now plans to mark the crash site with a plaque at the
distribution centre's entrance while the Mosquito's engine will be
displayed in the central estate office of the logistics park on which
the John Lewis distribution centre will stand. John said:

"It is fitting that we should commemorate the lives of the two crew
members."

This article was written by Heath Reidy and is reproduced with the
kind permission of the John Lewis Distribution Chronicle.
 
Interesting, wonder whether there are any photos of that engine available. Would probably be in pretty good nick once cleaned out. Wonder what caused the crash... An engine problem or something?
 
There are some potential questions about this mosquito crash. A fuel leak catching fire, because there was a report of an equipment problem and then the flash and a crash? Was the flash some fuel catching fire? All the reports seem to say is that there was a flash suggesting that something caught fire or some ammunition exploded...
 

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