So last time I wrote that I would be going away to do some more archaeology with Operation Nightingale, and today (Monday) I am on Salisbury Plain enjoying the evening sun, which by the way is absolutely stunning tonight, with a bunch of military personnel from the Army, RAF and Royal Navy and my good friend Dave Hart who was seriously injured in Afghanistan on our first tour due to a suicide bomber. They are chatting and having a relaxing drink enjoying the sun and going over what we did today, waiting for a classic film viewing in a short while of The Battle of Britain. The reason for the film is because we are recovering as much as we can of a Spitfire which was downed in World War 2, thankfully the pilot bailed out safely but the Spitfire was completely destroyed on impact and the ensuing fire. While they sit chatting and I am writing this we have Apache helicopters flying overhead and around the area while troops are on exercise training for operations.
Today then the site was set up, tents were erected and the ground was surveyed and marked out.
Once this was done lunch was eaten and then the digging began with the turf being removed and scanned with a metal detector so as no possible parts were missed. Then the ground was removed scrape by scrape and the bits of Spitfire started to appear very quickly. They were placed in to bowls as there were so many of them and then various parts were brought in to the “find tent” where Paul, Lloydy and I were waiting to receive them. Here they were cleaned and dried by Paul and Lloydy and then passed to me to photograph and log. As well as this I tried to identify the parts with serial numbers in a Spitfire maintenance manual, most times without success but then by looking at pictures of the parts of the aircraft we were sometimes able to see exactly where the parts were from. After the first day of digging, all be it only a half day we have recovered mostly mashed twisted aluminium but also some parts of instruments and instrument surrounds, and also some of the cockpit glass.
For the first days digging it has been a successful day, the weather has been incredible and is set to stay that way for the rest of the week apparently. My Wife drove me to the RV point this morning which we arrived at just after half eleven, then the SV arrived to pick my stuff up which involved the power chair being lifted by `Pux` using the hiab crane on the SV and Graham helping me in to the Hilux and driving me. Tonight then will be another little tester for me, as I will be sleeping in a 12×12 tent. Not a problem before my accident and I have proved that I can stay away in hardened accommodation as I did when we did the dig at Caerwent, if this goes well then it will mean that my family will be able to go to a camp site and we can finally get to use the tent we bought just before my accident that has consequently not been used! If it all goes wrong then I will be having to go home early I guess.
So that was day one of the dig then, the pictures will show you what we have found today and I will try to do a Blog every night to show you how we are getting on. Until the tomorrow then.