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CALSHOT RNLI SURPRISE FIND

Friday February 5th, 2010
SURPRISE FIND FOR CALSHOT RNLI
When the RNLI lifeboat from Calshot snagged its anchor on a mystery object, the volunteer crew could not have imagined that they were about to uncover a piece of local history. When the lifeboat’s mechanic, Mike Lawrence, went to free the mooring he was taken by surprise when they dislodged the 12ft in diameter propeller of a Sunderland flying boat that sank off Calshot 50years ago, when RAF Calshot was based there.
‘A few days ago we realised the mooring chain which anchors our all-weather lifeboat near the jetty was stuck on something,’ said Mike. ‘As mechanic it's my job to ensure the lifeboat is prepared and ready to launch at a few moments' notice on rescue missions, so I set about trying to free it. I started up the motors and using the power of the lifeboat I tried to pull the mooring free. However, I felt something ‘pop' and I knew that we'd dislodged something on the seabed. I also knew it wasn't the sort of thing one person could lift!'
Contractors working for the RNLI believe that the ‘pop’ was actually the sound of the propeller being pulled off the wing of the Sunderland.
Lifeboat Operations Manager at Calshot RNLI lifeboat station Bryan Laughlin said, ‘When we pulled it up we were all rather surprised and a little bit overwhelmed to be seeing a piece of aviation history right before our eyes. In line with the law we alerted the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's Receiver of Wreck, who will ensure the find is dealt with according to the laws relating to finds of this nature. We hope, though, that it will end up in a good home, somewhere like the aviation museum in Southampton.'
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