Relics retrieved from the B17 crash of 1944

Pictures of the retrieval

By Ian Hawks

I believe it was around the 1970's that a group from Blake Hall Museum with the help of Halcon Marine recovered one of the engines from the crashed Flying Fortress at the Point.

It was dug up and then with the help of beer barrels and an inflatable towed back to the slipway hosed down and loaded on to a trailer to be taken to Blake Hall.

Read the story by Stan Pierce of the B17 crash here.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Relics retrieved from the B17 crash of 1944' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Relics retrieved from the B17 crash of 1944' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Relics retrieved from the B17 crash of 1944' page
This page was added by Ian Hawks on 03/02/2009.
Comments about this page

I am interested in your story of the b17 engine of canvey point because a relation of mine, now deceased, was standing at canvey point watching a flight of b17s returning from a raid when he witnessed an engine drop off a damaged b17 and land upright in the mud of canvey point.

I wonder if this is the engine recovered in your article.

By john pizzey
On 19/02/2009

John.
Unable to give you any details of the engine, suggest you contact Blake Hall who may be able to help.
Ian Hawks

By IAN HAWKs
On 18/03/2009

I think some of the parts of this plane are in Appledore aircraft museum, Romney Marsh Kent. Myself and a friend of mine found some pieces, mainly spent partial segments of ammo belts,and part of a wing panel. He knew someone at Appledore and the pieces went there around mid 80's. I believe one of the pieces was marked engine/inboard/outboard/ access panel.
When I was out there there was part of an engine poking out of the mud, someone had cut off the prop blade.
I did have a ring gunsight,but this has been mislaid over time

By Gary Batchelor
On 05/05/2009

Am very interested in hearing more about items recovered from this crash, as my uncle, Cecil Tognazzini, was killed in it and his body was never recovered. (I believe his may have been the only body not recovered.) He was in the plane piloted by Ramacitti, and in which 8 of the 9 crewmen perished. My father, who is 91, was Cecil's only brother. I look forward to getting more information. For instance, I'm confused about whether Cecil's plane crashed in the water (which is what my father believed all these years) or whether it crashed into mud. And, I hope to learn more about the Canvey Memorial (when was it erected?) and the displays at the aviation museum. We weren't aware these existed.

By Anne Tognazzini
On 19/07/2009

As a boy I spent many a happy day down on Canvey point looking for parts of the said aircraft. I remember the engine laying on the beach where my dad, Ken Bassett and his friend Tony......tried to drag it home with a horse and cart with little success. The engine that I'm talking about was clearly visible laying on the beach where my dad dragged it to all that time ago with his friend Tony......in the early 70s.

I still remember all the stainless steel locking wire round the cylinder head still as good as the day it was made. I have a confession to make we found the other engine, laying about 200 feet out in the mud, at that time there was just the tip of the prop sticking out, we tried to dig it out, but we were young and didn't have the strength so we decided to try and cut of the prop.

First we tried to cut a piece off the tip of the prop, but it was to hard, so we tried a bit lower towards the boss. We tried for several days and umpteen hacksaw blades later and nearly cut it off but by the time me and my friend Nigel Bettis went back a couple of weeks later it had back filled its self,and we didn't bother again.

But it makes me wonder if somebody else did after us. My father just out of interest now in Norfolk a retired pilot had an airstrip at deopham which was home to the 152 bomber group flying b17s. I have really enjoyed reading about this and it brought back a lot of memorise to me, I also remember bits of landing craft scattered around, doors etc and various decommissioned boats.

What ever happened to the M T B at Benfleet bridge? Ive been in Cornwall for the last 27 years but still have family there, the Stevens. I shall have to come back one day, and go down to the point and see how it looks now.

All the best over and out.

By peter bassett
On 18/10/2010

I have some reasonable large pieces of metal recovered from this aircraft in the 1970s.

By Alan Hardcastle
On 27/05/2012

Hello Re the M.T.B at the bridge--M.V. Bendigo. About 15 years ago an attempt was made to tow her round the island in order to take up a new berth on the west of the bridge as it was unable to pass through the bridge. Around the Lobster Smack area it began to take water and was beached in Hole Haven creek alongside the "construction jetty". I last went there about two years ago when it was just a vandalised wreck but Google Earth [ 2006 image] shows it fairly intact. P.S. Actually an M.G.B Regards Sparrow

By sparrow
On 27/05/2012

Hi sparrow. Sorry I did not reply to your blog. Have not been on this site for a while. It was sad to hear of the demise of the MGB Bendigo, I always hoped some one had saved her as she was there for so long. I remember getting on it in the early seventies and it looked like a going concern. Mind you I was young and didn't know to much about boats in them days,i cant help thinking of all the chaps that spent time on her,when she was still in commission, and if any of them are still with us. Mind you the chances are slim now I should think. Just wondered sparrow if you lived there all your life as we may have met in the distant past. I lived there till 1980 and then came to cornwall. I did a lot of model flying in those days at Northwick corner and then later at the back of the golf course by waterside farm. It been pleasure and a sadness to here about the MGB and thanks for correcting me on the MTB bit. All the best, and thanks again sparrow. If I'm ever down that way, maybe we could go for a beer. over and out. pete...

By peter bassett
On 17/10/2012

Last time I walked round there I noted there is nothing left of the MTB except bits of wreckage

By David Bullock
On 17/10/2012

Hello Peter Re the model flying I now fly a microlight and sometimes fly over Canvey to look at the old place[many changes, casino gone etc] However I used to share a hangar with one of the Canvey modelers --Dave Stephens who now flies full size aircraft. In 2009 he gave a fly past at the bay museum in his WW2 Mustang for armed forces day. Definitely like to meet up Regards Sparrow

By Sparrow
On 17/10/2012

hi david thanks for the quick return,i just had a look to see if my blog was put on.and i saw your text.real shame about that if you are abit sentymental like meself,had alot of fun in them days,you could have a game of concours and clime a tree,no heath and safty just common sence, it was a boys paradise playing in dykes and crawling up pipes excuse the pun. regaurds pete.

By peter bassett
On 17/10/2012

hi sparrow,funny how history changes and buildings get knocked down that were monumental to the island,what happened to preservation.it nice to here about the low beat up in the mustang.im just building a 1/5 scale p 51 c. as most people build d model.i spent alot of time as a boy flying tail wheel aircraft.beagle terrier type 2 with the rochford hundred flying group,reg,G-ASAK.also tigermoth,G-BACK belonging to Gorge french at laindon.also chipmonk G-BYCL,belonging to nigel brendish at was then harvest air.jodel d 140,G-ARRY.witch belonged to chap from benfleet called ray andrews.to name a few.when i moved to corwall i left it all behind unfortunatly.familes and all.but i did manage to get a birdman hang glider years ago and flew it down the sand junes here in cornwall,but it waighed a ton.so now it para gliding.much lighter for carting back up the hill...... my family of stevens is quite big on the island now.just wondered if the stephens you are talking about owend the bakers years ago,as me dad in those days did all there electrical repairs.anyway sparrow,must cut you loose,got to get on mate.all the best pete.

By peter bassett
On 18/10/2012

Hello, I am a keen aviation enthusiast and a young canvey lad. I wonder what would be the chances of the recovery of the b-17 if many pieces are still intact would it be a similar job to the one of the dornier do 17 in the channel, by. Building a cradle for the fuselage to sit in? This would be a great project and great for canvey too, what are your Thoughts? Many regards Brandon Munt

By Brandon Munt
On 13/05/2013

Hello Brandon: A friend and myself reached the crash site within half an hour. As we walked down the sea wall onto the marshes we saw evidence that the B17 had pancaked and gone in nose first. The Bomber was burning and there was debris everywhere. The small jeep like fire engine from the Canvey fire station was arriving too and we were told to "get back" as there was ammunition exploding. I'm not sure whether very much of the fuselarge would have survived the fire, intact, however, the engines and landing gear would have remained on site for some time. There are reports in these archives, documenting the retrieval of some of those parts.

By Gerald Hudson
On 15/05/2013

Hi, I am really interested in the crash of the two B-17's that occured on 19th of June 44 and the one that crashed on the point in partiqular. Over the years i have aquired a few bits from this aircraft and although I know the history of the event fairly well i do not know exactly where the bomber crashed. Can anyone thst has commented here enlighten me where bits have been found?. My email address is steve.scott2@sky.com Thankyou for any help, Steve

By Steve
On 12/07/2013

hi steve.pete here if you want to go and find some bits of heavenly body,2 ,walk down to where the old barge used to be,and walk leftand out towards the point as far as you can and you should start to find some small fragments with a keen eye if you know what aircraft alli looks like.good luck steve,let us know how u get on.all the best mate,peter bassett.

By peter bassett
On 24/08/2013