The Excavation Of A P-51D of the 353rd Fighter Group


Tanner in his Mustang, "PRUDENCY"

Above; Tanner in his P-51 PRUDENCY

8th JUNE 1945

A P-51D Mustang of the 353rd Fighter Group, 350th Fighter Squadron, had been on an escorting Bombers on a mission to the German city of Leipzig, the Pilot of this Mustang was Captain. William. Tanner.

On their return to England the Group encountered bad weather conditions.

"According to my diary, Bill Tanner was leading the 350th Squadron on an escort mission to Leipzig. On the return, the weather was bad and he ran into icing, probably a thunderhead. The plane broke up in a spin, but he bailed out and ended up in a hospital in Braintree, beaten up with a gash on his head, but generally okay. The mission was on the In June, 1944."

Lt. Col. Wayne K Blickenstaff

"The aircraft involved in this incident was P51D-20-NA, 44-72302, LH-F. My records indicate an acceptance check on 15/3/1945, so it did not have a very long life with the group. Crash was recorded at 12.07, 5 miles north of Chelmsford."

Ashley Gant

The Mustang crashed at Fennes Farm, Bocking, near Braintree, Essex, England.

Captain, Willie Tanner.

The pilot "Captain Willie Tanner" had managed to bale out of the aircraft after it had developed servere icing problems, he landed safely on his parachute with a broken nose and a black eye


a view of the excavation



LEFT; A view of the excavation.




another excavation shot

note the oil patch where the Packard Merlin had rested only1mtr below ground





Above: another view of the excavation



ABOVE LEFT;This is where the Packard Merlin had lay 41 years earlier, NOTE oil stain in the soil at a 1 mtr depth

The dig revealed very little finds, The Mustang had only just penetrated the surface, a small display is in the museum.

You can find out more about the 353rd fighter group in our links page


Our thanks to

Lt. Col. Wayne K Blickenstaff of the 353rd 350th Fighter Squadron, and Ashley Gant for their help on this aircraft's history.

TAM 2000

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