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The Dornier 17 Project

dornier 17

German Bomber located on Goodwin Sands

A rare German wartime bomber was discovered on the Goodwin Sands, seventy years after it was shot down during the height of the Battle of Britain.

Shot down on 26 August 1940, the Dornier's historical importance is immense: this is the world's only surviving Do-17, a German aircraft type that played a crucial role in the Battle.

Since the Dornier emerged from the sands, the RAF Museum worked with Wessex Archaeology to complete a full survey of the wreck site in preparation for the aircraft's recovery.

Background

More than 1,500 examples of the Do-17 were built. The twin engine, twin fin configuration together with the 'pencil' fuselage was particularly distinctive. The most numerous model was the Do-17Z-2, operated by a crew of four and carrying a maximum bomb load of 2,000lbs. Over 400 Do-17 participated in the Battle of Britain during the course of which nearly 200 examples were destroyed.

Research by the Air Historical Branch and the RAF Museum suggests that the wreck is Do-17-Z2 Ser No 1160 of 7/III/KG3 (5K + AR) lost on 26 August 1940, the height of the Battle of Britain.

The Dornier 17 was part of a large enemy formation intercepted by RAF fighter aircraft at midday on 26 August 1940 as they attempted to attack airfields in Essex. This particular aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing on the Goodwin Sands at low tide after an attack by Defiant fighters of No 264 Sqn that left both engines stopped and the crew wounded.

The Dornier, flown by Feldwebel (Flt Sgt) Willi Effmert attempted a wheels-up landing on the Goodwin Sands. He touched down safely and the aircraft sank inverted. Effmert and his observer were captured but the other crewmen died and their bodies were washed ashore later.

Read 264's Squadron's Combat Report of 26th August 1940, Download full aircraft history (Adobe Reader Document, .pdf) Early research and preliminary site survey work for the Dornier Do 17 was supported by the Society of Friends at our London based Museum. 

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