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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 May, 2004, 21:47 GMT 22:47 UK
WWII hero's lost Hurricane found
The crashed Dornier on Victoria Station forecourt, picture from City of Westminster archives
The German plane crashed onto the station forecourt at Victoria
The engine and control panel of a World War II Hurricane that crashed near Buckingham Palace after destroying a Luftwaffe bomber has been found.

A digging team spent Sunday excavating a site in Westminster, where they discovered the plane's firing button.

During the Battle of Britain, pilot Ray Holmes, now 89, ran out of ammunition so he flew his Hurricane into a German Dornier bomber on 15 September 1940.

He used his aircraft to slice off the bomber's tail before bailing out.

Good condition

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

Experts at the site have said the engine, which hit the ground at about 350 miles an hour and was buried under a water main, is in remarkably good condition.

Along with part of the cockpit and throttle, the engine will be cleaned up before the public will be able to see what remains of the Hurricane.

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

The find will go on display as part of Westminster's West End at War weekend on June 12 and 13, and then move on to the Imperial War Museum in London.

Archaeologists began digging on Saturday, when they found fragments of the Hurricane which included pieces of its engine block, wooden tail fin, fuselage and a section of hydraulic pipe.

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

The salvage team has spent the last 16 years planning the excavation and getting permission for the operation.

Dig to find crashed WWII plane
30 May 04  |  London
A privileged place in the sky
28 May 04  |  Lincolnshire


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