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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 May, 2004, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Dig to find crashed WWII plane
The crashed Dornier on Victoria Station forecourt, picture from City of Westminster archives
The German plane crashed onto the station forecourt at Victoria
A team of diggers are planning to hunt for a World War II fighter plane which crashed after downing a Nazi bomber near Buckingham Palace.

Pilot Ray Holmes ran out of ammunition so flew his Hurricane into the German Dornier on 15 September 1940.

He managed to use his aircraft to slice off the bomber's tail and he bailed out before his plane hit Buckingham Palace Road at the junction with Ebury Bridge.

A team will be filmed live as they try to find the plane's shell on Sunday.

If they succeed, it will go on display as part of Westminster's West End at War weekend on 12 and 13 June.

But the team are not expecting to find it resembles the plane much - it hit the ground at about 350 miles an hour.

Archaeologists began digging at the site on Saturday.

They found fragments of the Hurricane which included pieces of its engine block, wooden tail fin, fuselage and a section of hydraulic pipe.

Bomber 'heading for palace'

It is thought the German bomber may have been on a mission to destroy Buckingham Palace.

Parts of the Hurricane, including pieces of its engine block and wooden tail fin
Archaeologists found fragments of the Hurricane on Saturday

Footage of the crash survives and will be broadcast on a giant screen in Leicester Square during the weekend of events.

Mr Holmes, now 89, has been interviewed for a documentary by Channel 5, which is also broadcasting the dig live on Sunday night.

Tim Owen, from Westminster City Council, said: "Westminster Council has pulled out all the stops to facilitate this historic excavation."

But he added there would be some traffic disruption, with diversions around Ebury Bridge.

A privileged place in the sky
28 May 04  |  Lincolnshire


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