THE remnants of a fighter plane that crashed on Salisbury Plain more than 70 years ago are being unearthed this week as part of a five-day archaeological project.
The spitfire, which was shot down on October 27, 1940 during the Second World War, is being uncovered as part of Operation Nightingale, which is run by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and The Rifles to help the recovery of injured soldiers.
Operation Tally Ho! got under way at Upavon on Monday and is set to finish tomorrow.
Visiting the dig on Tuesday was Rosemary Baillon, whose father Paul was flying the 609 squadron Spitfire when it was shot down, but managed to safely evacuate the plane.
“It’s been a remarkable experience and it’s extraordinary what they are finding,” she said.
“I never dreamed they would find so many artefacts.
“It’s also been an emotional experience for me but a very memorable day. I think it’s very important that these projects go on, helping many people involved.
“It appears that the young men who fought in the First World War and Second World War had the same kind of courage and self-deprecating attitude to their achievements as the young men in the military today.”
Working on the dig are injured soldiers from Tedworth House in Tidworth, veterans, and civilian archaeologists from Wessex Archaeology, as well as military and aircraft historians.
DIO’s senior historic adviser Richard Osgood said: “The project has been a poignant and moving discovery.
“The site has yielded traces relating to the sacrifices of airmen from the 1940s and it has been a real privilege to re-tell the story of Paul Baillon.