Friday, 2 January 2009

Avro Lancaster Mk. I W4326 'C' Charlie

An update on what happened with respect to the Dolwen Lancaster is in order, as the information we have received since our original posting has proved so interesting. We know that the "Aviation Archaeologists" who we usually refer to as scrap merchants were ungifted amateurs, but this is the saddest story yet!

We hear that one of the scrap merchants (who we might refer to as Rhys) applied for a licence to dig this site (where seven men died) in the late 1980s.

Now, applying for a licence to dig is not the big deal that wreckologists make out, and even at death sites like this one, they don't seem to check that you are even who you say you are, or care too much whether you have any relevant qualifications, or ask what you intend to do with the "recovered " items to any degree of rigour.

They don't even seem to care much if you have previous convictions for grave robbing. Grave robbing is an important concept here. It is the basis of the legislation which is supposed to protect these sites.

When records show that a body was recovered, that only means that 7lb (3kg) of remains were found. The rest is quite possibly still in the ground. All sites where deaths occurred are grave sites, though naturally the grave robbers dispute this.

Still, someone couldn't wait: we are told that one of the other scrap merchants (let's call him Bethesda Dave) heard of this and decided to beat him to it, excavating the site without a licence, and taking away two of the engines, and a few other saleable bits.

There is a picture of the dig in process in Edward Doylerush's "No Landing Place". Obviously "Rhys" wasn't pleased by his mate nicking what he considered to be his scrap, and this caused something of a rift back at the scrapyard.

One of the engines was broken up and sold in pieces. Some of these bits have since appeared on eBay.

The other engine is apparently in the Caernarfon Airworld"Museum", unlabelled as to its origin, and with various bits replaced with bits obtained elsewhere. They do not own it, it is merely on loan from the person who illegally recovered it.

Bits which couldn't be sold were left in situ, crowned with the added insult of a Welsh flag marking the graves of the entirely non-Welsh crew, signifying perhaps the feeling of ownership diggers have for wreck sites, and belying their so often made false claims of honouring the war dead.

Whether the man who makes little model aircraft from melted down plane wreckage bought scraps of illegally dug wreckage on eBay or simply collected it himself, we do not know. We do however know that he is advertising models made from the fabric of this aircraft.

Short of digging up one of the crew's skulls and taking a dump in it, we can't see how much more immorally and illegally these people might have acted. Yet nothing seems to be happening to them.

Can we call these people "Archaeologists", as diggers like to style themselves?

What sort of archaeologist cares about nothing other than the showiest items, and leaves everything else behind in piles?

What sort of archaeologist claims the site for his country, irrespective of the origin of the human remains to be found there?

What sort of archaeologist only displays items in a mickey-mouse "museum" which cannot even be bothered to label its exhibits?

What sort of archaeologist breaks up what he excavates, and sells it on eBay?

No sort of archaeologist at all, and I'm not just talking about the Welsh contingent. Pretty much all of you other sad anorak BAAC amateurs are as pitiful as this lot, just a little less uninhibited.

We also read that when "Time Team" decided to swim in the murky waters of "Aviation Archaeology" by digging up a Spitfire in France, they unearthed human remains too. Glossed over that bit in the programme, despite the French having no law to protect crash sites.

At least they didn't feature wreckologists in home made jumpsuits with "Air Crash Investigator" badges (no doubt sewn on by their mums), as they did in certain other episodes. If you are willing to humiliate yourself that much to get on the telly, you should be auditioning for "Big Brother".

We got the following comment from the guy who makes little models from bits of crashed 'planes:

Your comments on your blog have been brought to my attention and I am concerned about them.

You have taken it upon yourself to question my companies integrity further more you have put a link to my web site with out my permission . This I fined very offensive.

My models are all made from legally obtained parts . Therefore I ask you to remove the link to my website, your comments about me, and publish a public apology. Within the next seven (7) days from the date of this letter. Your frailer to comply with my requests will leave me with no alternative but to seek professional advice re further action to be taken, regarding the deformation of my character.

With regards
Mr R Ruddock

We replied:

So someone has wound you up, and set you going, have they?

I suggest you go and get that legal advice before you write again. You seem not to understand your legal position.

Your legal advisor will tell you that a person who buys from thieves has not made a legal purchase, and that there is no legal requirement to ask permission to place a weblink to someone's web site.

My information is that no licence has been granted for this site. I will withdraw my comment and apologise unreservedly if you show me proof that the excavation which produced your raw materials was done under MOD licence.

Perhaps you could tell me who you bought your metal from, and whether you have seen a copy of the MOD licence to excavate?

In the absence of such evidence, I will continue to believe what I have been told, which implies that your company is making models (and money)from metal illegally removed from a war grave. Like any reasonable person, I consider this contemptible.

Some spelling lessons might be an idea too. Legal threats are so much more convincing when they come from people with an apparent reading age above ten, unlike yourself.

The words you were looking for were:




tom said...

I particulary like the fact his reputation has been 'deformed'!

I came across your blog when researching the subject for my Technology Class - Keep up the good work Sean.

Thanks, Tom.

theonlygee said...

Couldn't agree more, such crash sites should be a place of respect and remembrance toward those who lost their lives, not souvenir hunting or profiteering. Such are the lowest of the low...

Gee James
Wales, UK.