Crowland

An amphibious vehicle that was recovered from below ground after 74 years in Crowland has been sent to a restoration site, and the man who found it is in search for a museum to house it.

The Buffalo LVT (landing vehicle trapped) spent 74 years underground after it sank during an operation to construct a temporary dam.

It was one of 30 amphibious vehicles placed in a horseshoe formation to shore up a breached bank, though only sixteen of them remain in place for flood defences to this day.

The tank had been washed away during a flood defence operation in 1947.

Daniel Abbott, a 41-year-old farmer from Crowland, found the vehicle after three years of examining records and exploring the area.

After a five-day haul, with help from North Level Internal Drainage Board, Crowland Cranes and Tear’s Recovery, the 50-man team lifted the vehicle out from the hole on May 1; from 30 feet below the ground.

The Buffalo was then taken away from its underground home and hauled through Crowland, with hundreds in town to witness it.

The Buffalo passes Crowland’s famous Trinity Bridge on its way to the restoration site.

It was taken to its restoration site on pretty much the opposite route to what it had taken in 1947 before sinking.

Members of Crowland LVT Association helped with the clean-up, and Daniel could not believe the condition it was in.

He said: “Every time I touch it, it surprises me, it really is in very good condition.

“We’d soon cleaned up the majority of it and found that the ramp works, which is great. It only took three hours to get that working.

“It might need a new engine and I think a couple of track links are going to have to be replaced.”

Daniel Abbott (centre) with some of the many volunteers on the project.

The recovery and restoration project of the Buffalo LVT has so far cost nothing, but a fundraising effort is underway to have the vehicle form part of a museum in Crowland.

A gofundme has been set up for the project to assist with the vehicle’s restoration, with an initial £2,000 target in place.

Daniel hopes that the museum can help tell the story of the floods in the town that ended up sinking the Buffalo for over 70 years.

He says he thinks he knows where a second landing vehicle is too, but is focused on repairing and cleaning the first one before anything else.

“It’s great that many of the people who recovered the Buffalo have been helping to clean it down.

“If we have to get a new engine that will be expensive. Let’s get one sorted before we move on to thinking about the other. That might be a couple of years away.”

He added: “Every day is a lesson and I’m always learning, which is nice.”

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.

Forensic tests by wildlife investigators have revealed the death of a bird of prey in Crowland may be linked to a criminal poisoning.

Lincolnshire Police have launched an investigation after a Red Kite was found dead on a piece of land in the area, with a member of public reporting it to the authorities.

The bird was sent off for forensic tests through the government wildlife incident investigation scheme, which concluded that indications suggest it had been poisoned.

As a result of this, Lincolnshire Police’s wildlife crime officers, as well as Natural England, the RSPB and the National Wildlife Crime Unit have carried out searches at addresses in the Crowland area.

During these searches under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, items such as banned pesticides were found, which could be linked to the poisoning offence.

Two people have been identified in relation to this and will be spoken to by officers.

Detective Constable Aaron Flint, Officer in the case has said: “Raptor Persecution is one of the UK’s National wildlife crime priorities and is taken very seriously by Lincolnshire Police.

“These offences will always be dealt with expeditiously and robustly. Deliberate killing of birds of prey is an offence which I urge the public to report if they become aware of it.

“I would like to add, that if a bird of prey is found dead and you believe it is suspicious it should be reported to the police immediately to allow an investigation into its death to commence.

“The bird may have been poisoned which poses obvious health and safety concerns if handled. Providing the police with the What3words location would be extremely useful when reporting an incident”.

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