It’s plane crazy... but if only it captured Cromwell

AT least it is more credible than an early Sunday Sport headline: World War II bomber found on the moon . The Sun last week reported that a 60-year-old Avro Lancaster bomber – the plane used by the RAF 617 Dambusters Squadron – featured as a ghost airc

AT least it is more credible than an early Sunday Sport headline: "World War II bomber found on the moon".

The Sun last week reported that a 60-year-old Avro Lancaster bomber - the plane used by the RAF 617 "Dambusters" Squadron - featured as a ghost aircraft on aerial photographs of Hartford on a cult web-site.

It subsequently turned out that the Google Earth mapping site, which uses satellite and aerial photographs taken within the past three years, had chanced to snap one of the two remaining flying examples returning from an air show.

It is not the first time Google Earth has chanced on unusual phenomena. It also recently picked up what appeared to be a flying car in Australia.

It is sad that such technology is so new. How charming it would otherwise have been to have a record of William the Conqueror's visit to Huntingdon in 1068, Oliver Cromwell wending his weary way to school in the grammar school, now the Cromwell Museum or the arrival of the railways in 1830.

Or we could have witnessed the first holiday fair in St Ives in 1110, and townsfolk flocking to worship in the chapel on the 15th century bridge over the Great Ouse.

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Modern technology might have fingered whoever actually nicked the bones of the eponymous scholar Neot, reportedly a brother of King Arthur, and gave them sanctuary in the priory at Eynesbury.

We might even know for sure whether it really was the town's John Bellingham who, in 1812, shot Spencer Perceval, the only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated.

We might even have witnessed Richard Williams, who subsequently re-styled himself Cromwell and founded the dynasty of that name, signing over the deeds to the ancient Ramsey Abbey. This was after the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century - half a century before the birth of Oliver Cromwell.

Of course, this information would have been much more difficult to access without Google Earth's sister internet search engine.

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