Elephant stable in India yields WWI bomber

April 19, 2007 at 1:06 PM
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DUXFORD, England, April 19 (UPI) -- A rare World War I bomber, termite-ridden but rescued from the elephant stable of a palace in India, has been put on display in Britain's Imperial War Museum.

The plane is a de Havilland DH 9, made of wood and canvas.

About 2,000 of them were built in Britain during World War I for long-distance raids, but the one at the museum in Duxford, near Cambridge, is the only one Britain currently has, thanks to its discovery by a backpacker in the elephant house at the former Bikaner Maharaja's palace in India's desert state of Rajasthan, reports the Daily Telegraph.

It took two years and about $1 million to restore the plane so it could be shown at the museum.

Guy Black, director of a restoration company who helped return the plane back to Britain, told the Telegraph he went discreetly to the palace in India to ask about the wreckage.

"They showed me to an elephant stable which was like a dog's kennel but 100 times bigger," he said. "There among the saddles and other paraphernalia were piles of WWI wings and tails and other things. I could not believe my eyes."

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