NOT ALL WHAT IT SEEMED
While in no way wishing to deny Ray Holmes' bravery, the full story as researched by Alfred Price is as follows. After beginning its bombing run, the Dornier had one engine knocked out and it straggled behind the formation. It immediately came under attack from several fighters and was badly shot up. Three of the crew, including the pilot, bailed out. The two remaining crewmen were almost certainly dead or unconscious. Flying on autopilot the lone bomber crossed the centre of London.
Sergeant Ray Holmes of No 504 Sqn was last to attack the lone (and empty) bomber. He ran in from head-on, but shortly after he opened fire his Hurricane's guns fell silent - he was out of ammunition. He made a snap decision to ram the bomber. His port wing struck the Dornier's rear fuselage, shearing off the entire tail unit. The bomber then made a sharp bunt, which caused the outer wing on each side to snap off. The bomber then entered a spin so violent that two 110 lb bombs and a canister of incendiaries tore off their mountings and smashed through the side of the bomb bay. The fall of the tailless, and largely wingless, Dornier was filmed until it hit the ground on the forecourt of Victoria Station. One of its bombs went through the roof of nearby Buckingham Palace, and smashed through a couple of floors before coming to rest in the bathroom of one of the royal apartments where it failed to explode! The rest of the bombs fell in the palace grounds, where the incendiaries started a small fire that was quickly extinguished. At that time newspaper accounts said this was a deliberate attack on the British Royal Family, but of course it was not. In any case, the King and Queen were at Windsor on that day.
Of the three German crewmen who bailed out of the Dornier before it was rammed, two were taken into captivity soon after landing. The third man was less fortunate. He landed by parachute near The Oval underground station in Kennington and was set upon in the street by civilians, some of whom tried to lynch him. He was rescued by the Metropolitan Police but subsequently died of his injuries.