Steering wheel from crashed Cold War plane to go under the hammer

Christopher Woods, from James and Sons in Fakenham holding the Yorke wheel of a Boeing B-50 Superfortress

Christopher Woods, from James and Sons in Fakenham holding the Yorke wheel of a Boeing B-50 Superfortress which is up for auction in February. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

The steering wheel from an iconic Cold War plane which crashed in Norfolk is expected to sell for a four-figure sum at auction.

The Yorke wheel of a Boeing B-50 Superfortress was saved from a crash site just outside Dunton Patch, near Fakenham.

The Yorke wheel of a Boeing B-50 Superfortress saved from a crash site just outside Dunton Patch

The Yorke wheel of a Boeing B-50 Superfortress saved from a crash site just outside Dunton Patch, near Fakenham, was donated to James and Sons on Norwich Street. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

The memorabilia was donated to Norwich Street auctioneer James and Sons by a resident whose father saved it from the burning wreckage, and has been valued at between £1,500 and £2,000. 

A bidding war is set to take place during the auction on Wednesday, February 9. 

While the Boeing is believed to have crashed between 1947 and 1952, valuer and cataloguer Christopher Woods revealed records of the incident were difficult to find. 

Mr Woods, who has worked at the auction house for 10 years, said the wheel was one of the rarest military items he had ever laid hands on.

Christopher Woods, from James and Sons in Fakenham holding the Yorke wheel of a Boeing B-50 Superfortress.

Christopher Woods, from James and Sons in Fakenham holding the Yorke wheel of a Boeing B-50 Superfortress. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

“I have never seen anything quite like it,” he added.

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“I doubt I’ll ever see another like it. I am so happy we had the pleasure to describe it and have it in our auction.

"The person who donated it was hesitant to give their name out because I guess it would have been a crime at that time to steal the aircraft components.

“I do not think there are many surviving examples of the B-50. Hopefully, it will go to a restore or someone that will have it in a museum.

The Yorke wheel of a Boeing B-50 Superfortress

The Yorke wheel of a Boeing B-50 Superfortress was saved from a crash site at Dunton Patch, near Fakenham, during the Cold War - Credit: Aaron McMillan

“It is a piece of history, which you never expected to have in your hands, and it is amazing that one ended up in the middle of Fakenham.

“It is incredible, and even more incredible to describe it and value it for auction.”

The Boeing B-50 Superfortress was an American strategic bomber - a post-Second World War revision of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress.

The B-50 first took to the skies in 1947 and was later retired in 1965.

Christopher Woods, from James and Sons in Fakenham holding the Yorke wheel of a Boeing B-50 Superfortress.

Christopher Woods, from James and Sons in Fakenham holding the Yorke wheel of a Boeing B-50 Superfortress. - Credit: Aaron McMillan

Mr Woods, 26, said these planes were designed to carry atomic bombs on board.

“It was one of the most iconic planes during the Cold War,” he said.

"They were made to carry the heavier bombs, such as atomic bombs. I believe it was from the American services, which were going in and out.”

Full catalogue listings can be viewed online by visiting easyliveauction.com.