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Thursday, 4 July, 2002, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
WW2 bomber pulled from sand
Lewis beach
The plane crashed on a beach on Lewis
A Wellington bomber has been recovered from a beach in the Western Isles - almost 60 years after it crashed during World War Two.

The aircraft came down during a training mission and its crew members survived.

A team of enthusiasts have just completed digging the bomber out of the sand, where it has been lying since 1944.

Only two other wartime Wellingtons have been preserved.

Routine training mission

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

The plane had crashed there in January 1944 while on a routine training mission from Northern Ireland.

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 excavation of the Lewis aircraft has been carried out by enthusiasts from Kenilworth in the English Midlands, who used a mechanical digger and water hose to clear away the sand.

Dambusters fame

Only about half the aircraft has been retrieved but the recovery team are delighted.

They are preparing to spend years rebuilding their Wellington.

The last Wellington to be restored was recovered from Loch Ness in 1985 and is now on show at Surrey's Brooklands Museum.

The other Wellington is at the RAF museum in Hendon.

Designed by Sir Barnes Wallis, of Dambusters fame, the Vickers Wellington was a bomber and also used for maritime reconnaissance.

See also:

23 May 01 | Wales
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