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The history stories that turned heads in 2021



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2021 was the year the past came back to life - with a Buffalo vehicle sensationally unearthed in Crowland, a lead on the centuries-old King John treasure mystery and a memorial for a hero pilot.

The first two of those even attracted interest from national and international media outlets.

Here's a recap of some of the history features we've enjoyed sharing in the last 12 months...

The Buffalo being removed from the ground in Crowland (46714555)
The Buffalo being removed from the ground in Crowland (46714555)

Crowland Buffalo

At the end of April, an ambitious project successfully unearthed an 'amphibious vehicle' that had been buried under the ground in Crowland for more than 70 years.

The Buffalo had been dispatched to the town during the 1947 flood - but was carried away by waters and sunk into the ground, where it stayed until 2021.

A team of about 50 people - including Crowland Cranes, North Level Internal Drainage Board and Tear’s Recovery - were involved in the project, which was the brainchild of farmer Daniel Abbott.

Mr Abbott now wants to put the vehicle on display in a museum - while there's even hope that a second Buffalo could be unearthed next year.

Raymond Kosschuk with some of the artefacts found in a field he believes holds King John's treasure (51573262)
Raymond Kosschuk with some of the artefacts found in a field he believes holds King John's treasure (51573262)

King John's treasure

An engineer exclusively revealed to us in June that he believes he has finally solved the mystery of King John's treasure.

Raymond Kosschuk is '100 per cent confident' that a site in Sutton Bridge contains the hoard famously lost by the monarch in 1216.

By December he had narrowed that down to one small field - raising hopes that a sensational discovery could be around the corner.

Daughters Gillian Akers and Sheila Reynolds unveiled the plaque to their father George Furniss. (51730710)
Daughters Gillian Akers and Sheila Reynolds unveiled the plaque to their father George Furniss. (51730710)

Pilot memorial

In September, a hero pilot who died saving Spalding from a potential tragedy was honoured with a new memorial.

Pilot Officer George Furniss selflessly kept his stricken plane in the air as it spluttered over the town centre on September 27, 1953.

The 29-year-old’s actions meant his Meteor VIII jet crashed into a field near the Vernatt’s Drain - avoiding houses and saving residents - although he was unable to save himself.

A private ceremony was held 68 years to the day since he had tragically lost his life and during this a new plaque was unveiled near Two Plank Lane where his body was discovered.

The memorial ceremony was attended by PO Furniss’ twin daughters Sheila Reynolds and Gillian Akers, who were just a year old when their dad died.

Daniel Cross Bates, in front of a Maori carving. Ref: 1/2-C-028321-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. (51951362)
Daniel Cross Bates, in front of a Maori carving. Ref: 1/2-C-028321-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. (51951362)

Forgotten son of Spalding

Spalding Gentleman's Society's curator of archaeology Richard Buck shared the lesser-known story of a 'forgotten son of Spalding' Daniel Cross Bates.

Bates (1868-1954) led a fascinating life as an army chaplain, meteorological pioneer and academic - making a mark on the other side of the world in Australia and New Zealand and leaving a legacy for his home town by sending artefacts such as a Maori cloak and bones of an extinct bird to Spalding Gentleman’s Society.

After revealing his story, we were also able to add the missing piece of the puzzle - working with the New Zealand library service to find and publish pictures of Bates.

Richard Buck with items from the Alfred Savin collection at Spalding Gentlemen's Society (50333813)
Richard Buck with items from the Alfred Savin collection at Spalding Gentlemen's Society (50333813)

Doggerland's prehistoric tool kit

Bates' story wasn't the only fascinating tale to come from the vaults of the Gentleman's Society in 2021 - we also revealed how it holds a prehistoric tool kit from the North Sea's 'lost Atlantis'.

Victorian jeweller and part-time archaeologist Alfred Savin found a series of items from Doggerland - the submerged land mass which once linked Britain to the continent - and his wonderful collection resides in the Broad Street museum.

The items help us to understand how prehistoric man lived and hunted.



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