Colchester Diving Club salvaging Typhoon which had ditched in the River Blackwater during WW2.
Letter from Ministry of Defence to M.D. Lungley, 68 St Peters Road, 6 September 1971.
The aircraft in question was Typhoon serial number R.8895 belonging to No. 3 Squadron based at Bradwell Bay. The pilot was Flt Sgt R.W. Pottinger, and the accident occurred on 22 March 1944 - some couple of years later than apparently thought locally. It was not in fact shot down, but ditched by the pilot. The Squadron record states that the engine over-revved on take-off for dark night-flying practice. The pilot could not make height and was forced to ditch in the Blackwater. This was done successfully, but the pilot had difficulty in working his dinghy owing to the cold. Boats from Brightlingsea located him, with the assistance of flares dropped by an Albacore from Manston, and he was taken to the Naval Hospital at Brightlingsea where he stayed the night. He rejoined his Squadron the following day none the worse for his adventure.
It is confirmed that the aircraft was moved recently to a less dangerous position and de-armed by the Military Authorities.
You may be interested to know that Flt Sgt Pottinger was later commissioned and was released from the RAF in 1945 with the Rank of Flying Officer. His personal number was 182715.