Relics of war in the skies are fascinating quarry

12:29pm Monday 25th February 2013

BACK to the treasure trove of wartime relics that may be buried in a quarry at Eaglescliffe, near Stockton.

“I remember this chap had a large warehouse in Stockton in the late 1940s, selling stuff that had been taken from the quarry and cleaned up,” says Tom Sellars, of Cockerton, Darlington. “It was amazing.

There were even propellors off Spitfires and Lancasters.”

For some weeks, Memories has been pursuing rumours about the Nuffield reclamation yard at Urlay Nook. Badly broken aircraft were transported to the yard by rail during the Second World War to be dismantled.

Unusable bits and surplus equipment are said to have then been dumped in a 210ft whinstone quarry to the east of Durham Lane.

Tom, then a cinema projectionist at the Lyric, in Middleton St George, bought all sorts of items from the quarry. “I got an 11-55 Lancaster transmitter – it was a huge thing, although there weren’t any crystals in it as you weren’t allowed to transmit,” he says. “I bought a Lancaster bombsight, and two gun cameras from a Spitfire. These had 2in fixed focus lenses and 50ft of 16mm film in tins.

“The cameras were attached to the wings of the Spitfires, and when the gunner fired at an attacking Messerschmitt, the cameras started recording at about 16 frames a second, so, out of each 50ft of film, you’d get about five-and-a-half or six seconds of footage.”

What else might be down there?


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