Friday, 23 December 2016

Thanet coast - the deterioration of the B17 flying fortress on the Sandwich flats

 In the coming weeks as the weather becomes more winter like there will be further evidence ashore of the B17 flying fortress on the Sandwich flats breaking up. As it stands to remove anything from the crash site is illegal unless you hold a MOD licence to do so. But as items break away the items are classed as surface wreckage and a licence is not required. However the MOD department that deals with military remains still need to be notified of any finds.
The most common and easily identifiable item to find ashore along the coast from Deal to Sandwich and Pegwell bay is pieces of corrugated inner wing panel. This gave the B17 its wing strength but after 73 years underwater, time is taking its toll. In the first photograph is an example of the starboard wing breaking up as the inner wing deteriorates exposing rubber fuel tanks.
This past year I have found pieces of inner wing panel the full length of Sandwich bay, in turn I have collected it and given it all to the RAF Manston History Museum for them to conserve and deal with.

Inner wing panel and fuel tank on site.

Inner wing panel as found .

Some pieces are very badly corroded

An example of a inner wing panel before the cleaning method I have adopted.

Example of most of the corrosion removed and ready for the next stage for the RAF Manston history museum to deal with.

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