Goodwin Sands, Kent, are a “collective war grave” for crashed WWII pilots, say campaigners

Campaigners, from Goodwin Sands SOS, Deal, are seeking to persuade Historic England to designate the Goodwin Sands, which lie in the English Channel 6 miles offshore from the Kent coast, as a “Protected Place”. The Goodwins are the final resting place of those pilots of all nationalities who lost their lives when their planes crashed onto them during World War II, see video below.

The campaigners are requiring this designation because the Dover Harbour Board has applied to the Marine Management Organisation for a licence to extract 3.75 million tonnes of sand from the Goodwin Sands to facilitate a reconstruction scheme at the Port of Dover. 

The campaigners believe that the extraction of sand from the Goodwins will inevitably disturb the hitherto unknown sites of these crashed aircraft — the war graves of these pilots, and their final resting place — and that this disturbance is illegal under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 which gives protection to such sites.  At present the crash sites in the Goodwins have not been officially recognised by the Ministry of Defence under the 1986 Act.

The Marine Management Organisation is in discussion with Historic England which is responsible for the protection of designated sites such as these, and Historic England have requested the Dover Harbour Board to undertake a magnetometer survey of the proposed dredging zone. A survey of this kind should detect the presence of any ferrous objects such as aircraft engine blocks, ships’ fittings or unexploded ordnance (UXO) buried up to 2m deep in sand.  However a magnetometer survey cannot identify disarticulated aluminium aircraft parts or human remains, two of the campaigners’ prime concerns.

The campaigners believe adequate alternative sources exist for the supply of sand which the Dover Harbour Board’s needs for its port regeneration scheme, and the campaigners are asking all their supporters to sign a petition which has reached over 13,000 signatures.

Source: Save Our Sands, Deal, News Release 24th January 2017.

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