A PURITON couple have discovered they have a World War II bomber buried in their back garden.

The German Heinkel was shot down by British air ace Robert Stanford-Tuck on August 14, 1940 – and now a team of archaeologists plan to excavate it from Andy and Betty Jennings’ property.

The incident, known as Eagle Day, caused commotion among residents at the time and was reported by the Mercury.

Mr Jennings said: “It came as quite a surprise and we are really quite excited by it. We had no idea it was there until the archaeologists got in touch.

“We have scraped the surface and found strips of metal with German writing on them. There are two areas of land where the engines are expected to be and because of their weight, they could have been buried as much as 6ft deep. I think it will be absolutely fascinating.”

Mr Jennings said he would be volunteering to help and has been assured their garden will be put back to its original state.

A team of aviation archaeologists have been granted a licence from the RAF to excavate and initial investigations have identified the site of two Daimler Benz engines, and possibly parts of the cockpit and forward machine guns.

Small pieces of aluminium from the disintegrated aircraft have already been dug up from 3ft under.

One of the archaeologists, Gareth Jones, said: "Until recent times it was thought this historic site was built over. However, modern aerial photography and ground penetrating radar suggests that under the lawn lies a time capsule of artefacts from that event not seen in over 70 years.”

Mrs Jennings said: “"It's interesting but it seems a shame to dig it up when it's been there all this time. I'm not worried about the rose bush [to be dug up] though - it's old, but nice."

Wing Commander Tuck shot down a total of 30 enemy fighters before his luck ran out in January 1942.

The German plane had been targeting Cardiff Docks and Bristol Aircraft works at Filton. The German pilot Otto Uhland was reported to have said he went to Bristol University and because of this he deliberately dropped his bombs short.

And reports at the time show how German radio operator Edo Flick was shot in the neck by an ‘overenthusiastic member of the Home Guard’.