Crowland WWII Buffalo LVT on show after restoration

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TankImage source,
Image caption,
The recovered Buffalo amphibious vehicle was one of 16 sent in to protect Crowland from flooding in 1947

A wartime landing craft, buried underground for 74 years, has gone on show and could be fully restored by next year, volunteers have said.

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

After excavating the vehicle last April, a group of volunteers have been renovating the craft.

It is currently on display in Thorney, Cambridgeshire.

Image source, The Crowland Buffalo LVT group
Image caption,
Volunteers have spent the past year restoring the vehicle, which they say could be in a driveable condition by next summer

Daniel Abbott, from The Crowland Buffalo LVT group, said the craft had been in "fantastic condition for its age" when it was dug up.

"With the engine running, now all we've got to do is the electrics, fuel line and fit all the levers," he said.

He added it could be "running this time next year".

As part of commemorations for the 75th anniversary year of the floods, the Buffalo is on display at a 1940s weekend in Thorney, Cambridgeshire.

Mr Abbott said proceeds from the event would go towards the further restoration of the craft, and plans to create a museum for local children to learn about the floods.

Image source,
Image caption,
Plans to retrieve the vehicle had been three years in the making

The amphibious vehicle, which he said had seen operations in the Rhine, 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 (8m) machines floated away.

One was later recovered, two sank in fishing pits and two sank into a hole.

Mr Abbott said they were also hoping to recover a second vehicle from the site in the coming months.

Image source, Keystone-France/Getty Images

Buffalo LVT facts

  • The Buffalo LVT (Landing Vehicle Tracked) was a lightly-armoured amphibious landing craft - suited for both land and water
  • 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

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