Real-Life “Adventure Team” Succeeds in Raising Downed WW2 German Bomber From Ocean Floor


This painting shows how a recently recovered Dornier Do-17 bomber would have appeared before being shot down by RAF fighters during WW2’s “Battle of Britain.” (Artwork: hyperscale)

Search for Last Dornier Do-17


Diving in the depths of the ocean and raising massive WW2 aircraft from the bottom is no easy task. It requires a strong, determined team of men, and serious high-tech diving gear. (Photo: RAF Museum)

Rugged, muscular crewmen wearing yellow reflective vests and hard hats work to assist deep-sea divers (clad in black rubber suits) with heavy compressed air tanks and bright yellow pressure helmets. To the eyes of any GIjOE, Action Man or Geyperman fan, this exciting scene seems VERY familiar. But no, this isn’t an action figure fantasy or 1:6 scale diorama. It’s a real-life adventure!

The daring men we’re referring to are not action figures, but an authentic, modern-day “Adventure Team,” comprised mostly of British deep-sea salvage divers and support crewmen. Their mission? To raise the sunken fuselage of a WW2 Dornier Do-17 bomber—the LAST one known to exist in the world—and return it England.

Welcome to the English Channel, aka “Göring’s Graveyard”

Originally loaded with thousands of pounds of high-explosives, the fearsome German warplane never managed to complete its deadly mission to destroy targets inside England. Instead, riddled with bullets by RAF fighters during the “Battle of Britain,” the bomber belly-landed onto a beach and then sank 50 ft to the bottom of the English Channel.


One of the divers rests for a moment before going back down to the wrecked bomber. His diving gear can weigh almost 200 pounds and standing on deck for long periods can be difficult. (Photo: RAF Museum)


Remains of the bomber’s fuselage arranged on the deck of the salvage ship. (Photo: RAF Museum)

After 73 years resting (and rusting) on the ocean floor, the world’s last-remaining Do-17 was gently raised with massive cranes, placed gingerly on the deck of the salvage ship and taken back to the very land it had once been sent to destroy.

Bottom Line: The Do-17’s air crew had been accounted for as POWs in Canada, so this particular plane was determined by the British government not to be “a war grave.” Permission was granted for its recovery, and what remains of the bomber will be displayed at the Royal Air Force Museum in London. For additional photos and information, we recommend you visit the RAF Museum website found HERE.


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