June 4, 2004
WWII Hero's Incredible Story
I came across the incredible story of British Royal Air Force Pilot Ray Holmes today. Ray Holmes was the brave pilot of a RAF Hurricane during the Battle of Britain in 1940. His Hurricane was out of ammunition when he saw a German Dornier bomber heading for Buckingham Palace. What would you have done?
According to an article on AVWeb.com when Ray Holmes was asked what goes through a young pilot's mind as he confronts the Germans he responded "Nothing particularly, Except he just has to go and have a bash at him. That's all." Holmes decided without ammunition his only opportunity to protect the palace would be to ram the German Bomber. He did so causing the bomber to crash at Victoria Railway he then safely jumped from his plane and parachuted to safety. This struck me as an amazing tale of courage.
The resulting crash of Ray Holmes's Hurricane caused it to be burried for years. Just recently the BBC taped the uncovering of Ray Holmes's Hurricane Aircraft which was recently discovered underneath a road near Buckingham Palace.
According to the Independent the escavation of the Hurricane was lead by Christopher Bennett an Aviation historian who has spent 13 years tracking the remains of Holmes's aircraft. when asked about the find by James Burleigh of the Independant Mr. Bennett said "I'm totally elated. I've been working on this project for 13 years. This crash site was a result of one of the most famous incidents of the war and this Hurricane crashed on 15 September 1940, the day now commemorated as Battle of Britain Day. After all these years, the engine is still in remarkable condition, probably because of the oil around it."
Lastly, on a bit of a tangent, a cool site I found while learning about this storry was Archaeology.org the online publication of the Archaeological Institute of Amercia.Posted by Todd McClamroch at June 4, 2004 12:05 AM