A Crowland, UK, farmer recently dug up an amphibious WWII military vehicle that was buried under 30 feet of earth. Now, he is working to restore the Buffalo LVT-4—once thought to be lost to history.
An excavation involving 50 men to exhume the tank in Lincolnshire Fens has afforded farmer Daniel Abbott the opportunity to restore and display the vehicle, which, for him, has become a passion.
“It was a very emotional moment,” Abbott told The Lincolnite. “I was nervous all day as this has all been a big part of my life.”
For the past three years, Abbott has been searching for the 20-ton amphibious assault vehicle, which itself has been buried for the last 74 years.
“There were a lot of rumors flying around about the Buffaloes not being there. People told me that they’d all been recovered,” he said. “But I remember as a young child my great-grandparents telling me there were amphibious vehicles around the site.”
Abbott studied WWII records, scoured the area, and eventually found the machine—which once had been part of a 30-vehicle operation to build a temporary dam. But in 1947, the Buffalo was washed away along with 14 other vehicles in a flood, and has been missing ever since.
With the help of Crowland Cranes, North Level Internal Drainage Board, and Tear’s Recovery, Abbott started the 5-day excavation to disentomb the amphibious vehicle from under 30 feet of earth.
The Herculean operation involved removing 4,500 tons of clay to uncover the vehicle.
Abbott told the BBC that he was “over the moon” to see it in such good condition.
“This is something I have been working on for three years, and I never dreamt in five days we would have one out above ground for people to see,” he said. “It’s in fantastic condition for its age.”
The Buffalo LVT—once ferociously armed with two functioning Browning machine guns and a Polsten cannon—will remain in Crowland, at Abbott’s insistence.
It’s believed the vehicle may have been used in the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945, a key event in WWII, making the find a truly momentous discovery.
Even more remarkable, the historic amphibious vehicle was discovered just in time for the 75th anniversary of its vanishment.
“I’ve always said I wanted to get one out in time for the 75th anniversary and we are ahead of schedule now,” said the farmer.
Crowland Buffalo Restoration & Museum—chaired by Abbot—told The Epoch Times they “are really wanting Buffalo 47 restored and preserved,” so that “everyone from nations afar will be able to see her” for years to come.