The working relationship between our E&G Archaeology and E&G Aviation branches is fraught by discordant approaches. Heading up the former, Dr John Mitchell likes to truffle small-print for shards of useful information; Christopher Varley, of the latter, scorns such trivialities and has his head in the clouds.
But a rare note of consonance will be struck when both branches come together to excavate a Mark 1 Spitfire in the Fens.
Commandeered by our friends and insurees DAG (The Defence Archaeology Group) who are working in partnership with Oxford Archaeology and to whom we are grateful for our invitation, the excavation comes off the back of a geophysical survey which revealed the entombed fighter-plane around two to three metres beneath the surface.
The survey was conducted by Peter Masters of Cranfield University’s Forensic Institute, who began operating on the site after learning of the crash - which took place in November 1940. Masters reported that the discovery of a well-preserved engine was a possibility. Local metal-detectors were mobilised subsequent to discovery.
The Spitfire could even be an ancestor of the crashed fighter plane E&G reported on yesterday, which as yet survives its ongoing dogfight with death.
These considerations aside, the project will fittingly baptise E&G Aviation, our new insurance branch, which hopes to become a player in the British turboprop insurance market; but for now, as Dr John obsessively buffs his tools and Chris makes whooshing noises around the office, our attention is fastened on what could be a landmark moment in aviation archaeology.