April 30, 2021 11.06 am This story is over 31 months old

Lincolnshire farmer digs up tank which sank 70 years ago

An incredible find!

An amphibious tank that sank and washed away during floods in 1947 has been located and dug up by a Lincolnshire farmer in Crowland.

The Buffalo landing vehicle dates back to just after the Second World War, and after it sank during an operation to construct a temporary dam, it hasn’t been seen since.

It was one of 30 Buffalo vehicles that were placed in a horseshoe effect to shore up the breached bank, with only sixteen of them remaining as part of flood defence in the area.

ALSO READ: Lincolnshire farmer digs up tank which sank 70 years ago

Daniel Abbott was bursting with pride when he finally got the tank out. | Photo: Cathi Elphee

ALSO READ: Amphibious ‘Buffalo’ carried through Crowland 70 years after sinking

Daniel Abbott, a farmer from Crowland, has spent the last three years examining records and exploring the area to try and locate the tank.

He eventually found it, and began an ambitious project to dig up and recover the tank from its positioning, 30ft below ground level.

With help from North Level Internal Drainage Board, Crowland Cranes and Tear’s Recovery, Daniel’s 50-man project finally came to a joyous finale on Thursday, April 29.

With help from local businesses, Daniel managed to haul the tank out and recover it.

The five-day operation saw around 4,500 tonnes of clay excavated from the area, and Daniel has insisted that the tank will not be sold and will stay in Crowland.

He said: “It was a very emotional moment. I was nervous all day as this has all been a big part of my life.

“There were a lot of rumours flying around about the Buffaloes not being there. People told me that they’d all been recovered.

It was in remarkably good condition, thanks largely to the preservation qualities of the clay it had been surrounded by for all these years.

“But I remember as a young child my great-grandparents telling me there were amphibious vehicles around the site.

“I just want to thank everyone who has helped in this project.”

It’s thought that the recovered Buffalo would have been used to cross the Rhine in March 1945, a key moment in World War Two, as well as being armed with a Polsten cannon and two Browning machine guns, which were removed in Crowland.