British enthusiasts are about to start one of the most ambitious restoration projects we’ve seen in a long while. They excavated a Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT) used during World War II and buried in a field since it was swept away in a flood in 1947. If things go as planned, they’ll dig out a second LVT from the same field in the coming years.
News channel Lincolnshire Live explained about 30 LVTs (similar to the ones shown in the picture above) were used to build a temporary dam in 1947 after floods ravaged parts of southern Lincolnshire in 1947. Working in treacherous conditions, five LVTs were swept away by flood water and assumed to be forever lost. Daniel Abbott, a local farmer, spent three years planning the rescue.
“Someone had not told the people to weigh the vehicles down,” explained Abbott.
He started by confirming that the LVT was still underground. Its resting place was around 30 feet below the surface, and it stretches about 26 feet long, so it would take more than a Toyota Land Cruiser with a winch to get it out. Local businesses and a team of 50 workers painstakingly freed it from its grave, sometimes using hand tools like shovels. It looks like hundreds of gallons of water were pumped out of the hole before a Volvo crane pulled the LTV out.
Photos posted on social media by Abbott (shown in the gallery) suggest the LVT is in much better shape than you’d assume considering it sank when Harry Truman was in the White House. Lincolnshire Live speculates the peat and the clay in the soil played a significant role in preserving it. Cleaning it up revealed several bullet holes (Abbott thinks this LVT was shot at as it crossed the Rhine river during the World War II) and signs of its time in the military, including a hand-written note saying the oil level is okay. It’s a Water Buffalo designed and built for the United States Armed Forces by Food Machinery Corporation, according to a metal plate found during the clean-up process.
For the time being, Abbott and his team are hoping to raise enough money to clean up the LVT and apply a sealing solution that will prevent it from rusting now that it’s no longer protected by clay and peat. When that’s taken care of, they’ll take a closer look at it and decide the scope of the restoration work they’ll carry out.
“The one we dug up and another LVT sank in a hole, two sank in fishing pits but are now very rusty, and one was recovered,” Abbott pointed out. “We are hoping to recover the other one that sank in the hole in the next few years,” he added. Interestingly, 10 additional LTVs can’t be removed because they’re still part of the flood defense system.
There is seemingly no shortage of buried vehicles in England. In 2020, a man found a 1950s Ford beneath the topsoil while building a deck. It was buried in 1964 because its owner didn’t want to pay to have it scrapped.