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Glider pilots from WWII reunite in Dorset

While Spitfires and Lancaster bombers are celebrated in the history of World War Two, little is known about the role of gliders.

Today in Bournemouth there was a gathering of some of the few remaining pilots who played a critical role in the Allied success after D-Day. Richard Slee reports.

Survivors commemorate WWII school bombing deaths

The Sussex town of Petworth has been remembering one of the most tragic events in its history.

28 children and four adults were killed when three bombs fell on a boys' school during World War II.

Survivors of the bombing in September 1942 were among those at a memorial service at the mass grave where the dead are buried. Richard Jones reports.


Ramsgate Tunnels: the inside story of the "town beneath a town"

It was one of Kent's best kept secrets, but during the war thousands of people took refuge from German bombs in a network of tunnels built in the cliffs under Ramsgate. After the war they were abandoned, until a group of enthusiasts decided to start a project to restore them.

They got funding from ITV's People's Millions for a feasibility study, and the rest is history. In just a matter of days, the public will be able to explore the " town beneath the town". Andrea Thomas was invited in to take a look around with local historian Ralph Hoult.

World War II mission is retraced

They were terribly injured serving their country - one of them lost both legs and an arm. Yet a group of amputee soldiers and veterans are planning to honour the fallen of the Second World War by retracing a famous daring mission.

Operation Frankton - immortalised in the film the Cockleshell Heroes - was an attack in 1942 on German shipping in the French port of Bordeaux carried out by a small unit of Royal Marines in canoes. All but two lost their lives.

More than 70 years later a charity has brought together modern day war heroes to make the same gruelling journey. Mike Witt is from the Pilgrim Bandits.


Up for auction: the Rolls Royce that was converted into a wartime dental surgery

The 1913 Silver Ghost London-to-Edinburgh Tourer Credit: Bonhams

A Rolls-Royce used as a mobile dental surgery during the First World War will join the impressive line-up of motor cars at this year’s Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale on Friday 12th July.

The 1913 Rolls-Royce 45/50hp ‘Silver Ghost’ London-to-Edinburgh Tourer was bought by a wealthy Englishman for £1,016 (approximately £100,000 in today’s money) in September 1913, before passing to its second owner Auguste Charles Valadier in October 1915.

On the outbreak of hostilities in 1914 Valadier had been keen to help the war effort in some way. He volunteered his services to the British Red Cross Society in Paris, who accepted him for duty in October that year.

Valadier established the first unit dedicated to the treatment of facial injuries, which helped facilitate the later progress of plastic surgery for use in facial reconstruction.

By the end of 1916 he was stationed at Boulogne and the Rolls-Royce – then bodied in limousine style – had been modified to incorporate a dentist’s chair in the rear.

A colleague who worked alongside Valadier at the time noted: “In Boulogne there was a great fat man with sandy hair and a florid face, who had equipped his Rolls-Royce with a dental chair, drills and the necessary heavy metals. The name of this man... was Charles Valadier.”

  1. Derek Johnson

Salvage of WW II bomber aircraft postponed

Organisers will try again to lift a World War Two German bomber from the Goodwin Sands. Last night's attempt was abandoned due to bad weather. Crews could head out on Thursday or postpone the operation for a week.

We speak to Air Vice-Marshal Peter Dye from organisers RAF Museum Hendon, Martin Barker from the diving company, Paddy Hughes the son of an RAF pilot, and aviation author Chris Goss.

World War 2 Bomber in 'remarkable condition'

Wessex Archaeology handout photo of an underwater side scan of a twin-engined Dornier 17 German bomber discovered on a sandbank off Deal

Experts are excited by the find because other than the effects of sea life, such as barnacles, coral and marine life, it is largely intact.

Amazingly the main undercarriage tyres remain inflated but the propellers clearly show the damage inflicted during the bomber's fateful final landing, experts have said.

Lifting it from the sea will use pioneering technology and but will be tricky because of tide and weather conditions.

Once it has been lifted, work will start to conserve and prepare the Dornier for display. The work will take place at the Michael Beetham Conservation centre, the RAF Museum's conservation centre at Cosford, Shropshire.

It will be placed in two hydration tunnels and soaked in citric acid for the first stage of its conservation. Once the delicate process is complete, the aircraft will be displayed at the museum's London site within the context of the Battle of Britain story.

Hitler's bomber rises from its watery grave

Photo of twin engined Dornier 17 used by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. Credit: RAF/PA Wire
RAF Museum handout photo of a a section of the wreck as work has started to raise the Credit: RAF Museum/PA Wire

Sonar scans by the RAF Museum, Wessex Archaeology and the Port of London Authority then confirmed the identity of the aircraft as the Dornier Do 17Z Werke number 1160.

Nicknamed the Luftwaffe's "flying pencil" bombers because of their narrow fuselage.

A platform is now above the wreck and divers have started to build a cage around the aircraft - working in 45-minute shifts - at the start of the salvage operation which should take around three weeks.

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