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Avro Lancaster of 61 Squadron to be recovered from Dutch lake

A Lancaster bomber Image copyright Leemans Speciaal Werken
Image caption The bomber was part of 61 Squadron, based in Lincolnshire

An operation to recover a World War Two Lancaster bomber submerged in a lake for 75 years since it was shot down is under way.

The Avro Lancaster of 61 Squadron, crashed in the lake during a night bombing run from the UK to Bremen, Germany, in 1942.

It is thought the crashed aircraft may contain the remains of tailgunner F.J. Cooper, from Canada.

The Dutch firm recovering said the wreckage was largely complete.

The Lancaster R5682 crashed during the night of 4-5 September, 1942 near Warten in Alde Feanen, now a national park, in northern Holland. It had flown from RAF Syerston in Nottinghamshire.

Three of its seven crewmen were killed, four managed to bail out and were captured.

Image copyright Leemans Speciaal Werken
Image caption Canadian tailgunner F.J. Cooper lost contact with the crew during the attack

A flypast over the site by the Lincolnshire-based Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Royal Dutch Airforce has been arranged for 3 October to commemorate the crew.

Evander Broekman, of aircraft recovery firm Leemans Speciaal Werken, said: "The aircraft came down in a swampy area that is very difficult.

"It is in about 8m (25ft) of water and we will have to go down with a dam about 16m (50ft) and drain inside it and remove the soil.

"It is dangerous because of water pressure on the dam and underneath from the soil."

Image copyright Google
Image caption The Lancaster crashed near Warten in Alde Feanen during World War Two

Mr Broekman also said everything would be done to find the missing tailgunner "after he lost communication with the rest of the crew during the fighter attack".

The waterway has been closed to shipping and a dam is being put around the crash site. Building it could take several weeks, he said.

Once the water has been drained it could take until November to uncover the wreck, Mr Broekman added.

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