Sir Richard Branson helps kick start Dornier campaign

Published on: 26 August 2011

Sir Richard BransonThe Royal Air Force Museum has launched today a fundraising campaign to rescue the sole surviving example of the WWII Dornier Do-17 aircraft.

The Museum is now appealing to the public to raise the remaining £250,000 to complete the recovery and restoration project. The public fundraising campaign is also endorsed by Sir Richard Branson who is a supporter of the Museum.

Sir Richard Branson states: “The discovery of the Dornier is of international importance. Please support the RAF Museum’s appeal to save this unique aircraft as a tribute to the loss of life on both sides of the Battle of Britain.”

The German wartime bomber was shot down during the height of the Battle of Britain exactly 71 years ago and has since then been submerged in the waters of the Goodwin Sands. It is currently at risk from tidal forces, the effects of salt water corrosion and is exposed to looters. Therefore it is imperative that the aircraft is recovered and conserved urgently.

With a crew of four, and loaded with 2000lb of bombs, the aircraft, a twin-engine Dornier Do-17 – known universally as ‘The Flying Pencil ’-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.

The aircraft is in remarkable condition – considering that it was damaged in air combat and has spent so many years under water. Other than marine concretion, it is largely intact, the main undercarriage tyres remain inflated and the propellers clearly show the damage inflicted during the aircraft’s final landing.

Since the Dornier emerged from the sands two years ago, the RAF Museum has worked with Wessex Archaeology and English Heritage, as well as Imperial College London and the Dornier Museum, to complete a full survey of the wreck site in preparation for the aircraft’s recovery and eventual exhibition.

Work to conserve and prepare the Dornier for display will be undertaken at the RAF Museum’s award-winning conservation centre at Cosford. Here the Dornier will be placed alongside the Museum’s Vickers Wellington which is currently undergoing long term restoration.

Air Vice-Marshal Peter Dye, Director General of the RAF Museum said that “As a survivor of the Battle of Britain, the Dornier Do-17 is a unique aircraft of national and international importance and our long term plan is to conserve it for display at the Museum. We very much hope that this exciting and unique project will receive support from the public and become the focus for a collaborative effort by apprentices from across the world.”

To make a donation to this project please follow the link below:

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