World War II aircraft discovered on the English beach after 76 years

Debi Hartley and Graham Holden found the World War II aircraft buried on a beach in England.

Debi Hartley, a 51-year-old warehouse supervisor and his partner, Graham Holden, a 54-year-old truck driver, were walking their dog Bonnie on Monday on a beach in the city of Cleethorpes when they spotted the plane.

Initially the couple did not realize what the wreck was and spent 45 minutes exploring it and taking pictures before identifying it, Hartley told CNN.

After returning home to start research, they discovered the plane dating back to World War II.

The British Air Force Museum (RAF) has confirmed to CNN that it believed the aircraft was a Bristol Beaufighter TF.X, with the serial number of the aircraft JM333, originating from the RAF 254 Squadron.

Ian Thirsk, head of the RAF Museum collections, said in a note to CNN that the plane crashed on April 21, 1944 immediately after taking off from nearby North Coates in Lincolnshire after both engines failed.

“The crew remained unharmed and fled to safety,” added Thirsk.

Speaking to CNN, Hartley said she was surprised to stumble upon the “fantastic” wreck, as she and her partner had walked that stretch of beach many times before.

“(I had never seen anything like this before in my life,” he said.

“We took the dog on his usual walk and suddenly saw this wreck,” he added. “It was an extraordinary discovery.”

A well-preserved example of Bristol Beaufighter TF.X at the RAF Museum in London.

“My partner has lived in Cleethorpes for 30 years and has taken the same walk (all that time) and has never met him before.”

She said that prior to the unique discovery “she was not interested in history at all”, but now she would like to find out more about those who piloted the plane.

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However, due to the danger posed by unpredictable tides on Cleethopes beach, people have been warned not to look for the wreck.

Write on Facebook On Thursday, Cleethorpes Coastguard said: “We know there will be interest from many people, but we must ensure everyone’s safety, so we ask people not to visit the site as it is not safe to do so.

“We have also received reports that it is now covered in sand again.”

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