Scotland plans to lift sunken WWI Rolls-Royces from water of Burntisland

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Edinburgh, Aug 15 (ANI): An audacious plan has now been hatched to lift two armoured Rolls-Royces, the cars that were first deployed as First World War fighting machines but collided with other naval vessels during a storm, from the shallow water of Burntisland on the Fife coast in Scotland.

Discussions are to be held next month on an initial survey by Navy divers of the remains of the wreck, which lies in around 80ft of water, to find out what condition the cars are in.

If they are found to be relatively intact, a rescue operation will be mounted to retrieve at least one for display in a military museum, the Scotsman reported.

The Scottish Industrial Preservation Trust has masterminded the project, after previous diving reports had indicated that at least one of the cars was still visible within the hull and recognisable.

"I'm not expecting it to be in showroom condition but I have spoken to the Mary Rose Trust, which raised Henry VIII's sunken flagship, and they said to me that the wood and rubber would probably be in fairly good condition," Trust's spokesman Stephen Raeside said."It just depends on the temperature of the water - the further you go north, the better it should be. I'm hoping it will come out of the water fairly intact.

Despite becoming a stalwart of the army, the armoured Rolls-Royce was first developed by the Royal Navy. Initially they were adapted versions of civilian Rollers, usually with boilerplate bolted on as armour and a gun mounted on the back, but latter came with custom-made armour, produced by Glasgow engineers William Beardmore and Co, and turrets. Adopted by the army on the Western Front, the torrential rain and thick mud made them unusable and so they were transferred to dryer fields of conflict over the coming decades. Lawrence of Arabia used one of the cars in the Jordanian desert to pursue his campaigns during the Second World War.Many of the original armoured versions were subsequently transported to America after being taken out of active service, where they were converted back into civilian vehicles. (ANI)

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