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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 June 2007, 10:45 GMT 11:45 UK
Lost WWII plane finally due in UK
The P38 Lightning
The P38 Lightning was buried under 300ft of ice
An American fighter plane will be arriving in Britain from the United States next week - 65 years after taking off.

The P38 Lightning was one of eight aircraft forced to land in Greenland after encountering bad weather while en route to the UK in July 1942.

The planes became buried under 300ft of ice but 15 years ago the remains of one, renamed Glacier Girl, were dug up.

The aircraft is due to take part in an air show at Duxford, near Cambridge.

The plane is expected to land within the next few days to prepare for the Imperial War Museum annual Flying Legends weekend on 7 and 8 July.

It has previously flown at air shows in the United States.

A dedicated recovery team spent months working to retrieve the single P38 when the lost aircraft were re-discovered, immediately christening it Glacier Girl.

Forced landing

An IWM spokeswoman said: "It's a remarkable story which is set to reach an emotional conclusion.

"Sixty five years ago this July, six American P38 fighter planes and two B17 bombers took off from the east coast of the United States to make the long journey to Britain and so on to Germany.

"These aircraft made up one small part of Operation Bolero, the historically important build-up of allied aircraft in Britain championed by President Roosevelt.

"Already well into their journey, the eight aircraft encountered atrocious weather conditions over Greenland and, with fuel running low, the crews had no choice but to attempt a difficult landing directly on to the snow and ice of Greenland's glaciers.

"Miraculously, all 25 crew members survived the landings and, after a few cold days awaiting rescue, were returned safely back to the States."

The P38 Lightning is due to fly alongside more than 50 other vintage aircraft, including Spitfires and P51s.


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