Second World War amphibious vehicle dug up in the Fens after 74 years underground

  • ITV News Anglia's Claire McGlasson reports from Crowland near Peterborough

A Second World War amphibious vehicle has been dug up in the Fens near Peterborough seventy four years after it sank.

  • Watch an extended interview with Daniel Abbott, the Chairman of the Crowland Buffalo LVT Association.

A team of ten spent days excavating the site in Crowland to find the American LVT-4 'Buffalo' which was built in Florida in 1944.

The 'Buffalo' vehicles after the River Welland burst its banks in 1947 Credit: Credit Crowland Buffalo/LVT Association

It disappeared when the military was brought in to help when severe flooding hit Crowland in 1947 as the River Welland burst its banks.

Bullet holes can be seen in the side of the vehicle. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The vehicle was buried around twenty eight feet underground and is in near perfect condition with its engine intact and its door still able to be operated with ease.

  • Watch footage of the recovery work

Local historian Daniel Abbott is the Chairman of the Crowland Buffalo LVT Association. He's been searching for the Buffalo for three years as part of efforts to preserve the history of Crowland.

The hole dug to remove the amphibious vehicle in Crowland near Peterborough Credit: Ross Harris

The vehicle could carry up to forty soldiers and would have had weapons to protect the troops onboard, although there were no weapons found when it was dug up.

The vehicles were used for both troops and cargo for both landings and river crossings, as well as assaults in waterlogged areas.

This particular vehicle would have been used in crossing the River Rhine in March 1945.

The vehicle was towed through Crowland along the same route it would have taken in 1947. Credit: Ross Harris

There are a number of coincidences attached to the discovery of the 'Buffalo':

  • The vehicle had the number 47 written on its back door

  • It sank in 1947

  • Which is 74 years ago, the reverse is 47

There are a series of coincidences with the number 47 Credit: ITV News Anglia

The next step is to clean-up the vehicle and give it a coating to protect it from further rust, then the team will decide whether or not to begin a full restoration.

A fundraising campaign has begun to help pay for that work and when it is finished the plan is to put it on display in Crowland.