Daniel Abbott (centre) with some of the many volunteers in the project.

Team who dug up buried wartime vehicle launch museum appeal

The farmer who spearheaded a project to dig up a World War Two vehicle in Crowland has moved closer to his hope of establishing a museum to house it.

Saturday, 8th May 2021, 8:00 am

A couple of nights before the Buffalo LVT (landing vehicle tracked) was hauled out from 30 feet underground, Daniel Abbott had a dream about seeing it on display in the town.

And a fundraising scheme launched this week hopes to bring that to fruition.

The gofundme page for Crowland Buffalo Restoration and Museum has an initial target of £2,000.

Thanks to the considerable efforts of volunteers and North Level Internal Drainage Board, Crowland Cranes and Tear’s Recovery, the recovery and restoration project has not cost a penny so far. Now Daniel hopes people will donate towards creating a museum dedicated to the town’s floods in 1947.

“I think it would be fantastic to have the Buffalo as the centrepiece and display boards telling the story,” he said.

The amphibious vehicle had spent 74 years underground after sinking during efforts to repair a breached bank.

There was hope that the clay surrounding had preserved it well – and Daniel, 41, is really pleased just how well.

“Every time I touch it, it surprises me,” he said. “It really is in very good condition.

“We’d soon cleaned up the majority of it and we got the ramp working again with some lubrication. It only took three hours to do that.

“It might need a new engine and I think a couple of track links are going to have to be replaced.

“If we have to get a new engine that will be expensive.”

The Buffalo was moved on Saturday, May 1, after a five-day dig to haul it from its resting place.

The town was already busy with it being the day of former Crowland parish councillor and Lincolnshire County Council leader Jim Speechley’s funeral.

Daniel, who is chairman of Crowland Buffalo LVT Association, said: “I’ve not seen that many people in the town for years and they all had their cameras.”

The Buffalo took virtually the opposite route – North Street, Albion Street, Broadway and Peterborough Road - to that which it had taken in 1947. At that time its armoury of a Polsten cannon and two 0.3in Browning machine guns had been removed in North Street prior to being taken to the breach site.

Sixteen other Buffaloes still form part of the flood defences.

Daniel thinks he knows the location of a second landing vehicle which was washed away but will not be turning his attention to that one anytime soon.

He said: “It’s great that many of the people who recovered the Buffalo have been helping to clean it down.

“Let’s get one sorted before we move on to thinking about the other. That might be a couple of years away.”

He added: “Every day is a lesson and I’m always learning, which is nice.”

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