Crowland WWII Buffalo LVT dug up after 74 years underground

image captionThe recovered Buffalo amphibious vehicle was one of 16 sent in to protect Crowland from flooding in 1947

A World War Two landing craft buried 30ft (9m) underground for the past 74 years has been unearthed by volunteers.

The Buffalo LVT was brought in to provide flood defences around Crowland, in Lincolnshire, in 1947, but was swept away and sank into a hole.

A team of volunteers spent five days excavating the vehicle and now hope to restore it and put it on display.

Daniel Abbott, chairman of the Crowland Buffalo LVT group, said he was "overwhelmed" and "over the moon".

The amphibious vehicle was one of 16 deployed to protect the town in March 1947 after floods caused the nearby River Welland to burst its banks

However, as the flood waters were pumped back, five of the 26ft-long machines floated away. One was later recovered, two sank in fishing pits and two sank into a hole.

image captionPlans to retrieve it had been three years in the making
image copyrightPA Media
image captionMr Abbott said it was an amazing thing to see the craft back above ground

"This is something I have been working on for three years, and I never dreamt in five days we would have one out above ground for people to see," Mr Abbott said.

"It's in fantastic condition for its age."

image captionIt took a team of volunteers five days to get the 26-foot-long landing craft above ground
image captionThe operation was watched by dozens of fascinated spectators

He said getting it out of the ground was only the first stage in the project, and a fundraising appeal had been launched to help restore it.

"We would ultimately like to have it located somewhere within the town as a memorial to the 1947 floods and the Herculean efforts made to repair the bank and remove the flood water," he added.

"I've always said I wanted to get one out in time for the 75th anniversary and we are ahead of schedule now."

He said the vehicle, which had seen operations in the Rhine, would form the focal point for local children to learn about the floods.

image captionA fundraising appeal has been launched as part of efforts to restore the craft and put it on display
image copyrightKeystone-France/Getty Images
  • The Buffalo LVT (Landing Vehicle Tracked) was a lightly-armoured amphibious landing craft
  • It was a relatively quick and effective way to transport troops, small vehicles and supplies, but was easily damaged
  • It played a significant role during the crossing of the Rhine and Elbe rivers in 1945, when bridges were not immediately available

Source: Imperial War Museum

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