Can you help?
Have you ever witnessed any aircraft crashes during World War Two? We are looking to hear from anyone with ANY information regarding aircraft crashes in the UK and Europe. Have you ever wanted to know more about why it crashed or perhaps you have often wondered about the pilots name, age etc. If so we can often help.
WW2 Casualty Groups - RAF, Army, Navy. We will ensure their names are not forgotten.
Volunteers wanted to attend museum during open weekends - would suit retired person within the Surrey/Sussex area.


Aviation Archaeology
The Wings Museum is one of a handful of recovery teams that are actively part of a museum. We feel it is important that our findings are displayed to the public so that the stories & history we unearth can be shared for all to see.
Please feel free to browse through some of our excavations below that we have been involved in to date.
What is Aviation Archaeology?
Countless aircraft fell to earth during World War 2, but remarkably few of the crash sites were accurately documented. Mostly the wreckage was taken away at the time or salvaged for scrap, but occasionally it has been possible to recover the remains of a crashed aircraft. Such items as Engines, Propellers, Under-carriage, Tyres, Instruments, Controls and many more fascinating artifacts can be recovered. If the ground conditions are such, then it is possible for an aircraft to penetrate the ground up to 30 feet or more!
Wings Museum Excavations...
All of the Wings Museum excavations are done with the proper permissions. It is not without hours of extensive research and gathering of information from, archives and eye-witnesses that an excavation can be carried out. The Wings Museum has a proud record of leaving the land in an "as found" state after a particular recovery is completed. We are particularly thankful to the co-operation of an otherwise busy farmer or landowner that makes a recovery possible. It is vital that an effort is made now to accurately record these events before the stories are lost forever. The Wings Museum carries out all it's excavations in a safe and professional manor. Occasionally a local Archaeology Group is invited to take part and in most instances some representative parts are left for display at institutes within the local area of a particular recovery. Each investigation we undertake is fully researched before hand, with this stage complete it is then possible to begin the long process of locating the exact point of impact.
Once an approximate area is located we then call in the deep searching equipment which locates any deep buried wreckage to within a few inches, this prevents any unnecessary digging and keeps disturbance to a minimum. With this having been achieved the team will then begin the process of gaining permission. Once permission is in place it is then possible to carry out the excavation which is normally spread over a long weekend. As soon as parts begin to emerge preservation techniques are deployed to prevent paint from flaking and steel items rusting. Once the parts are safely back at the Museum the laborious process of identification, preservation and cleaning of the artifacts can be carried out. With this vital work completed the parts are then labeled and displayed within the museum for public display along with the story of the pilot or air crew the final flight etc.
The Law...
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) has instituted a scheme of ‘Licence's’ which they grant upon a request from a recovery group or museum. All crash sites in the Uk are protected by the Protection of Military Remains Act & it is illegal to recover aircraft parts without an MOD License. This act prevents individuals interfering with any military remains without proper MoD permission.
Air Crew Memorials...
The Wings Museum works closely with the families of aircrew to locate lost aircraft in order for a permanent memorial to be erected on the site in memory of the crew. Public money is often used to pay for the cost of the memorial and without public support this work would not be viable. For more information on some of the Wings Museum Memorials which have been unveiled throughout Europe please see here>>
Some of our excavations in Belgium:

Manchester Dig - Belgium

Excavation of JN920 - Belgium

Investigating an Avro Manchester in Belgium

Excavating Halifax JN920 in Belgium

Air Ministry Crash Axe
Aircraft Dingy
An aircrew Emergency Escape Axe is unearthed

The aircraft Dingy is recovered from Halifax JN920

Halifax Undercarriage
An Undercarriage Leg is carefully excavated

© Wings Museum