LARG – A Short History

The origins of the Lincolnshire Aircraft Recovery Group go back to 1973 when aviation archaeology was just beginning to be recognised as a serious activity as it is today.  Recoveries were carried out throughout Lincolnshire, with much emphasis being placed on talking to locals who remembered the incidents. 

P-38 Prop being recovered at Kelstern
Our aim is to preserve what is now modern history, as a tribute to those who lost their lives during the war, fighting for our freedom, and to remind the young and not so young generations of the aircraft and people that flew during those dark days. There are now several permanent memorial plaques on display in the centre, these go with memorials we have also erected on the crash sites of some of the aircraft we have been involved with.

The members of the LARG all work voluntarily on what is still just a hobby, the recovery of an aircraft is the ‘high point’ of many weeks, months or even years of research that goes into planning a dig.  With so many regulations and constraints controlling the activity, great care has to be taken to ‘get everything correct’ otherwise the recovery may not go ahead. 
After a successful dig the hard work then starts to clean the wreckage to displayable condition, this work is done in our workshop at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, East Kirkby,  a job that involves meticulous work with wire brushes, scrapers, toothbrushes, emery cloth and ultimate patience so as not to destroy any more of the ‘mangled metal’. The results of our work can be seen at the Heritage Centre where there are displays in the main hangar, thanks to the owners, Fred and Harold Panton.

Canadair Sabre recovery at Algarkirk

Hampden L4063
Many crashes sadly involved the loss of lives, and as mentioned earlier the LARG have erected memorials to  commemorate their sad loss. These Plaques have often been unveiled by relatives of those killed.

Two such examples are for the crew of Hampden L4063 in the Cheviot Hills. Parts from this are being used in the Brian Nicholls Hampden Restoration Project at East Kirkby

Also a memorial to Lancaster ND820 at Bicker, near Boston, here six of the crew are still listed as missing. The Memorial was blessed by the Padre from RAF Coningsby on it’s 60th Anniversary.

Lancaster  ND820