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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 20:47 GMT 21:47 UK
War veterans reunited with bomber
Wellington Bomber
The bomber had not decayed because of the loch's fresh water
A group of WWII veterans have been reunited with the world's last remaining Wellington Bomber aircraft to have seen active service.

Surviving members of the RAF Wellington crew gathered at Brooklands Museum, in Weybridge, Surrey, to see the restored plane on Wednesday.

The plane was unearthed by a team searching for the Loch Ness monster in Scotland in 1985.

Staff at Brooklands were given an award for the restoration work.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) presented the museum with its prestigious heritage hallmark award and unveil a plaque.

'Engineering history'

Vickers created the Wellington Bomber, which served throughout WWII, using a pioneering lattice-structure design.

The crew of the restored plane had to ditch the aircraft because of engine failure while they were flying over Loch Ness in 1940 on a training exercise.

The aircraft had not decayed despite spending decades in Loch Ness because of the lake's fresh water.

It took staff more than 15 years to restore the plane. Its side panels have not been replaced to allow museum visitors to see the lattice structure.

It is an amazing piece of British engineering excellence
John Baxter, IMechE president

Former pilot John Reid, 87, from Shepperton in Surrey, one of the volunteers who took on the task.

Mr Reid said: "When I first looked at it I said, 'You can throw that lot on the scrap heap'.

"It was just a pile of bits and pieces and I didn't believe we would be able to put it back together again. But it is great to see it back."

IMechE president, John Baxter, said: "This is a proud moment in engineering history. We are uniting the Wellington crew with the Bomber.

"It is an amazing piece of British engineering excellence."

Wellingtons were central to Britain's wartime bombing effort - but while more than 11,000 were made, only two have been recovered and restored.

The other is at the RAF museum in Hendon.

In 2002 a team of enthusiasts recovered part of a Wellington Bomber from a beach in the Western Isles, where it had been lying since 1944.

The plane was buried 4ft (1.2m) down in the sands off Ardroil at Uig on the Isle of Lewis.


SEE ALSO
WW2 bomber pulled from sand
04 Jul 02 |  Scotland

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