the only surviving German Second World War Dornier 17 bomber was recovered from Goodwin Sands in 2013 Credit BFBS
WWII

Campaigners Battle To Protect Resting Place Of Wartime Pilots

The port authorities want to dredge up three million tonnes of aggregate in an area of Goodwin Sands, to expand the harbour.

 the only surviving German Second World War Dornier 17 bomber was recovered from Goodwin Sands in 2013 Credit BFBS

In 2013, the only surviving German Second World War Dornier 17 bomber was recovered from the area, 70 years after it was shot down during the Battle of Britain.

Campaigners have won the right to challenge plans by the Port of Dover to remove millions of tonnes of sand from a site where more than 50 pilots are believed to be buried alongside shipwrecks and wartime air crashes.

The port authorities want to dredge up three million tonnes of aggregate in an area of Goodwin Sands, to expand the harbour.

But campaigners fear it would disturb the remains of more than 50 other pilots as well as military aircraft crash sites which are protected under law.

A relative of one of the pilots has now won the right to hold a judicial review of the decision to dredge the sands. A High Court judge will decide the matter in the summer.  

One of the pilots believed to be buried in the Goodwin Sands is Jack Kerr Wilson, whose Spitfire disappeared in 1940.

Richard Kerr-Wilson, the nephew of Jack Kerr Wilson, welcomed the court decision, saying:

"The Goodwins should be respected as a war grave for those who gave their lives for their country during WWII."

The Sands, which are a proposed Marine Conservation Zone, have been described by Wessex Archaeology, who reviewed data for Dover Harbour Board’s environmental consultants, as ‘archaeologically extraordinary’ on account of their holding the highest density of maritime assets in UK waters.

A spokesperson for the Port of Dover told Forces News they were "disappointed" that a review is to take place.

“The initial decision by the MMO to grant the licence followed extensive, iterative and consultative process which included all respective primary consultees," the spokesperson said.

"We continue to have full confidence in the marine licence application process, and the resulting consent from the MMO, which included a number of conditions specifically designed to protect the environment, war graves, archaeology, and the wider historic environment."

It is anticipated the Judicial Review will be held in June and will take place at the High Court.