RARE PHOTOGRAPHS - AIRCRAFT SALVAGE DURING THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN AND THE BLITZ,
Clearing away the debris and detritus of modern mechanised warfare is some- thing that warring nations have had to deal with since the end of the First World War, and the inevitable result of twentieth century warfare was the
large-scale littering of land and sea with the wreckages that combat left behind. The massive and widespread land battles across Europe during the first and second world wars left their own particular trails of destruction and debris that had to be cleared away before normal life could once again resume in the post war periods, and those clear-up operations presented their own challenges, dangers and difficulties. In the British Isles during the Second World War, and for the first time in modern history, the country was faced with widespread destruction caused by bombing, and disrup- tion and damage to infrastructure caused by almost six years of conflict – some of that damage resulting from defensive measures taken by the military with the estab- lishment of aerodromes, fortifications and other defences.
Putting things back to how they were took very many years, although during the 1939–1944 period itself a far more immediate problem faced the authorities in Britain: the collection and disposal of shot down or crashed aircraft, allied and enemy. Such crashes needed almost immediate attention for a variety of reasons. How were they dealt with, and what subsequently happened to them?
Photo shows: One of the earliest enemy aircraft crashes in Kent was this Dornier 17 of 8./KG77 shot down by Hurricanes of 32 Squadron into a hop garden between Beech Farm and Sheephurst Farm at Collier Street near Paddock Wood on 3 July 1940. The aircraft, which drew crowds of sightseers, was a relatively easy recovery job for the salvage party and became one of the first aircraft recovered by 49 MU, RAF Faygate, who dealt with the majority of wartime crashes in Kent, Sussex and Su