Created on the drawing boards of two of America's most notable aircraft designers - Hall Hibbard and Clarence 'Kelly' Johnson - the P-38 Lightning was the only US pursuit plane to remain in continuous production throughout WWII.

Created on the drawing boards of two of America’s most notable aircraft designers – Hall Hibbard and Clarence ‘Kelly’ Johnson – the P-38 Lightning was the only US pursuit plane to remain in continuous production throughout WWII.

The nephew of a pilot who crashed his Second World War fighter plane near Harlech is campaigning for the wreckage to be salvaged and placed in a museum.

The rare United States Army Air Force (USAAF) fighter, now known as the Maid of Harlech, was discovered in July 2007 after 65 years under the sands.

A fuel supply issue compelled the P-38 to land on the Welsh beach on September 27, 1942 during a practice run.  Second Lieutenant Robert F. Elliott (only 24 years old at the time) managed to escape unscathed, even though the emergency landing caused some damage to the wingtip.  Sadly, Elliott disappeared in combat during the North African offensive a few months later.

Locals have dubbed the plane the “Maid of Harlech,” in reference to the 13th century Welsh castle by the same name.  A joint coalition of British and American archaeologists are now attempting to recover and restore the old bird.

Lt Elliott survived this crash unharmed but three months later he was involved in a flight attack above Tunisia, from where he failed to return. His body and his aircraft have never been found.

His last surviving relative, a nephew, Captain Robert Moyer Elliott USNR Ret, 70, has been campaigning for the last six years for the wreckage of the aircraft to be removed and displayed in a museum.

Captain Elliott said: “My only hope is that the wreckage is pulled up and taken to a museum to be put on display. “I’ve been waiting for six years for this to happen and I really don’t want to wait another six.”

13 Comments

  1. We’ve been restoring military surplus aircraft for almost 40 yrs. Although the P-38 is fairly rare, this particular aircraft has been in salt water for over 65 yrs. it would literally have to be rebuilt – not simply restored due to the corrosive factors. It would cost millions. You would need to ask yourself if those millions might be better used at restoring perhaps a multitude of vintage aircraft instead of just one. If this was Amelia Earhart’s lost plane – I’d say yes. Not so sure about this aircraft.

    • TO MAKE IT A MUSEUM PEICE A LOT OF STRUCTURE WOULD NOT HAVE TO BE USEABLE. NONSERVICEABLE PARTS WORK FINE. ANY SHEETMETAL WORKER CAN REPLACE THE ALUMINUM AS IT DOES NOT HAVE TO FLY. I THINK THE COST WOULD BE A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF A REAL FLYABLE AIRCRAFT.

  2. brad simpson says:

    Historians have pulled Dornier from the English channel why not this?
    And if not raise the awareness for the historic value of it.

  3. Why restore? Give it a museum spot “as is”.
    Put up a storyboard next to it, and you’ve got yourself a piece with character.

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