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ON THIS DAY

15 Nov 12. The first Stage IIIB/Tier 4 Interim JS360LR (long reach) crawler excavator produced by JCB has played a key role in the excavation of remains of a WWII Lancaster Bomber, which was shot down in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Use of the machine, owned by French rental company and civil engineering contractor Christophe Beaussire, of Catz in Normandy, was donated along with a JS220 and a JS240, a Loadall telescopic handler and a JCB Fastrac tractor to complete the delicate excavation work.
The site of the plane crash, which has lain undiscovered for almost 70 years, was found by British aviation archaeologist and historian Tony Graves. He had searched the area after reading of the crash of an American fighter. However when he found the site two and a half years ago, he discovered around 300 rounds of British ammunition by the crater. He also found a ring near the site that belonged to Flight Lieutenant Albert Chambers DFC, of Normanton in Derbyshire, who had been a member of the crew of Lancaster ND739. The Bomber, piloted by Wing Commander Jimmy Carter, had taken off from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire early on D-Day, to carry out a raid on gun emplacements at Pointe du Hoc, on the Normandy coast, prior to the invasion landings. The plane was returning to England following a successful mission when it was shot down near Carentan, but the exact location has remained undiscovered until now.

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