Alarming, indeed, was the experience of some dwellers in a South London suburb during a daylight air raid, when it appeared as if a Heinkel must crash straight into their house. So close did the 'plane come that, as described below, they looked right into the terrified face of the Nazi pilot.
The Heinkel was heading straight for the house where I had taken cover.
The house holder, his wife, three children, and I stood helpless, fatally fascinated, as the Nazi bomber loomed larger and larger, until its shape filled the view from the French windows behind which we stood.
It was at this moment we caught sight of the pilot's face.
The glimpse was a momentary one, but none of us in that room will forget the horror of the Nazi's expression.
Helmeted and goggled as he was, there could be no mistaking the frenzied fear which lurked behind the wide open eyes and tensed cheek-bones.
It was the face of a man harassed and hunted to the extremity of human endurance, the face of a man beyond hope of escape, and resigned to the impending crash and total destruction.
Then, as if by a miracle, the 'plane lifted at the last moment, and we glimpsed its pursuer, a British Spitfire, pumping bullets at an incredible rate from all of its eight guns.
The Heinkel crashed a mile away – one almost regrets that its pilot will not be able to report his experience to his messmates in Germany. – (Reynolds News.)