‘I heard this terrific bang’ - First-hand account of when downed Luftwaffe bomber dropped its load
PUBLISHED: 10:23 20 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:26 20 September 2018
The rediscovery of remains of a Luftwaffe Junkers Ju 88 bomber which crash landed in north Norfolk in 1941 has sparked the memory of a woman who saw the bomb the plane dropped.
Eileen Kidner, 87, was living in the town of Wainfleet, near Skegness, when the bomber was hit by gunfire in the skies nearby and ditched its ordinance in an attempt to make it back to the continent.
Mrs Kidner, who was 10 at the time and now lives in Earsham, near Beccles, said: “I was walking along the road to grandma’s and I heard this terrific bang and a fantastic cloud of dust and black bits.
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“It fell on a baker’s shop in the high street and killed Mrs Cram in the bakery and her husband in the bakehouse behind. They were the only two people killed and it was the only bomb we had during the war.”
Mrs Kidner said she was more amazed than scared by the sight, although her gran was “shaking with fright” when she got to her house.
She said: “We were surrounded by Lancaster bombers during the war - lying in bed at night we three little girls used to count them out.”
Chris Gleadell, from Sheringham, dug out part the remains of one of the bomber’s engines after stumbling over it on a beach west of Sheringham earlier this month.
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A spokesman from the Muckleburgh Military Collection at Weybourne, which has a model of the bomber, said it was part of a squadron of 12 that flew from Eindhoven in the Netherlands a mission to attack the docks at Birkenhead.
After the bomber was hit over Skegness, its port engine started to lose power and its compass failed.
The spokesman said: “The bombs were jettisoned and the pilot turned south for home.
“While over Norfolk the starboard engine started to fail, so the pilot made a successful forced landing at Weybourne Hope just below the low tide mark. All four crew became prisoners of war.”
Ashley Gray, from Wymondham, recalls finding one of the plane’s twin engines in 1973 or 1974 when he was walking with his late wife Aileen, son Julian and daughter Samantha.
He said: “From the amount we discovered it was a 12 cylinder engine with ‘Made in Germany’ - in English! - on a part of the engine.”