Skip to comments.Archaeologists Dig Up World War II Plane
Posted on 05/31/2004 6:16:20 AM PDT by numberonepal
LONDON (AP) - Archaeologists said Monday that they have unearthed parts of a World War II fighter plane that crashed after downing a German bomber near Buckingham Palace.
Archaeologist Christopher Bennett said the plane's engine and control panel were located late Sunday during excavations in Buckingham Palace Road in the center of the capital.
The Battle of Britain was raging over the skies of London when pilot Ray Holmes spotted the German Dornier bomber on Sept. 15, 1940.
Historians believe the German plane may have been on a mission to destroy Buckingham Palace.
Holmes had run out of ammunition so he flew his Hurricane directly into the German plane. He managed to use his aircraft to slice off the bomber's tail and parachuted out of his plane before it hit Buckingham Palace Road. The Dornier plunged into part of Victoria Station.
Holmes's plane, which hit the ground at around 350 miles (560 kilometers) an hour, was largely buried under a water main and never recovered. The road was later paved over.
Holmes, 89, was present as the engine was lifted to ground level.
"Well it's such a mess that it is hard to realize that it came out of the airplane," he told a Channel Five TV show documenting the dig.
Archaeologists also recovered pieces of the plane's wooden tail fin, fuselage and a section of hydraulic pipe.
Bennett, who has investigated the story for the past 12 years, said the dig was "the culmination of a project that has taken hundreds of hours of work."
The engine and other fragments found during the dig will go on display as part of Westminster Council's West End at War weekend on June 12 and 13. Footage of the crash survives and will be broadcast on a giant screen in Leicester Square over the weekend.
The remnants of the plane will then be housed permanently in London's Imperial War Museum.
Wish I lived on the west coast, but I'm here in New York State and I don't know of anyone out there who can take down oral history. Maybe someone else on FR can help. You might want to post something on the California forum.
They could have done it easier and cheaper if they hadn't waited 60 years.
Wasn't this man give a special ciation by the Queen after the recovery?
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