RARE PHOTOGRAPHS - AIRCRAFT SALVAGE DURING THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN AND THE BLITZ,
Clearing away the debris and detritus of modern mechanised warfare is some- thing that warring nations have had to deal with since the end of the First World War, and the inevitable result of twentieth century warfare was the
large-scale littering of land and sea with the wreckages that combat left behind. The massive and widespread land battles across Europe during the first and second world wars left their own particular trails of destruction and debris that had to be cleared away before normal life could once again resume in the post war periods, and those clear-up operations presented their own challenges, dangers and difficulties. In the British Isles during the Second World War, and for the first time in modern history, the country was faced with widespread destruction caused by bombing, and disrup- tion and damage to infrastructure caused by almost six years of conflict – some of that damage resulting from defensive measures taken by the military with the estab- lishment of aerodromes, fortifications and other defences.
Putting things back to how they were took very many years, although during the 1939–1944 period itself a far more immediate problem faced the authorities in Britain: the collection and disposal of shot down or crashed aircraft, allied and enemy. Such crashes needed almost immediate attention for a variety of reasons. How were they dealt with, and what subsequently happened to them?
Photo shows: Whilst the Messerschmitt 109 was favoured for exhibition purposes because of its size and relative portability, other types were sometimes hauled around the countryside to show to the British public, and this was a Junkers 88 on display at Primrose Hill, London on 10 October 1940. It was an aircraft of 2./KG77 that had been shot down at Gatwick Race Course (now Gatwick Airport) on 27 September 1940 with one of its crew killed and the other three captured but wounded.