Path of a Luftwaffe bombing run over Bures, November 6th 1940,
from the Nayland Rd to the Colchester Road

Part 2

 

In addition to the bomb damage at Nayland Road, possibly a further six bombs rained down, with the last falling along the Colchester Rd

The map shows the first and last bomb that was dropped by the Luftwaffe, The first in Colchester Road and the last in Nayland Rd.
Obviously, the accuracy of the Luftwaffe was very poor, if the bomb aim was destined for the factory


First Hand accounts of the raid:-

Many residents over the years have only mentioned either a single bomb or a cluster of bombs which fell in the vicinity of Nayland Rd, destroying the Willinghams family home by the blast.

There appears to be some confusion on which way the bombing run took place

Here we have four accounts of the bombing run?

No1.
I interviewed Mary Anderson in early 2,000 and she told me:


My father told me he had seen a German plane heading towards the village when he was standing at the back door. He pushed me indoors and told me to get down on the floor. We then heard the terrible sound of screeching then a series of horrendous bangs. When it was all quiet, I walked down the road with my father to find the first bomb hit the house another in the middle of the road and other across the field opposite
The Willingham children, fortunately, were in school at the time of the bombing.***

***This has been documented in numerous places, but it`s incorrect the youngest child Eva would have been 29.



No2
Another interview with Arthur Beaumont told me this:
I was delivery a set of batteries to a lady at the top of Wormingford Hill when I saw a plane coming over the fields towards me. From the sound of the engine, it was a German.
He continued towards Assington, he then banked around and headed back towards Bures, I then heard a series of bangs. When I returned to the village, Nayland Road was blocked.

The direction of the bombing run.
The first bomb in Nayland road and the last in Colchester road


No3
Account by Stephen Barr of Malmesbury, Wiltshire. Parents lived along Colchester Rd.

During the early 1940`s we were advised to move away from our house between St Osyth and Clacton due to the war situation and so we arrived at Bures for safety.

Consequently my Grand Parents rented a bungalow on Colchester Road and were at home when the bombing occurred.
From what my family has told me, I can pass on the following:

The bombing happened around tea time so it was dark. The lights of the factory, to the north of the village, were seen to be switched on without any black-out precautions. With the rest of the village in total darkness it must have stood out like a beacon.
The reason for this has never been explained.
I think that it was a targeted air strike on the factory and not simply the aircraft getting rid of unwanted bombs.

My father recalls the noise of an aircraft in a steep dive, followed by a series of loud explosions. There was no warning other than the noise of the aircraft.
The front door was blasted down the hall by the bombs. As already mentioned the family were about to have their evening tea/meal. The children had sat down at the table ready to start eating.
My Gran had managed to "obtain" a honey comb (not easy with rationing) as a special treat for the children which she placed on a plate in the centre of the table.
The children were very-much looking forward to eating it. This is the point when the aircraft was heard in a steep dive and so my gran and her mother each leaned over the children to try to give them some protection. There was no time to do anything else. As you probably know German aircraft tended to sound different to British ones and so my Gran knew something bad was about to happen.
When the bombs went off the glass light fitting above the lounge table came crashing down directly into the honey comb and ruined it with broken glass splinters.

My family say that a bomb landed on Colchester road, blocked the road.

The property was damaged by the blast, the whole roof structure shifted 5 inches, all the windows were broken and the doors blown off. It was so badly damaged was uninhabitable until being rebuilt after the war.

One of the bombs only just missed a pile of bricks on the building site next door ( left side of bungalow)
In Nov. 1940 the ground was fairly damp so where the bombs hit soil they tended to go down a long way before exploding and so shielding much of the blast.
People at the time said that if the bomb had hit the pile of bricks there would in effect have been a kind of "air burst" explosion and my family would have all been killed. As a result only my Grandfather would have survived as he was at work in Clacton at the time.

My father suffered serious hearing damage which he never recovered from. He also had nightmares which lasted into the 1970 as result of this and other things that happened in the war.


It is my understanding that a stick of 10 bombs were dropped with the first ones landing near where my family were living on the Essex side of Bures, Colchester road. Some landed in the meadows next to the river, between the 2 sides of the village and the final 1 or 2 landing on or near the council house on Nayland road where the 4 people were killed. In other words the bombings on Colchester road and Nayland road were both part of the same air raid.

I have, seen it suggested that there were anywhere between 4 and 10 bombs dropped but I would think that the correct figure is 10 or nearly 10 judging by the damage.

There is also some confusion about the date of the raid as I have seen it stated as being anywhere between the 5th and 11th November 1940. ( ed:- the insurance claim date this as Nov 6th )
My Grandfather was at work when the raid happened and when he got home to a seen of total devastation my Gran said "we've been bombed" my Grandfather replied "I thought something had happened".

My Grand Parents moved out the next morning, after spending a night with some people just down the road.
That day they also found some alternative accommodation.



No4
An account from John Barr, Uncle of Stephen Barr

My first real memory was standing in the near darkness of the hall with the family, except my father who was still on his way home and shivering (cold /fear). At that point, someone found my coat (brown with a velvet collar I think) and we were just looking at the hole where the front door had been when someone (ARP?) ran up to the opening and called out to check if everyone was alright.

The next I remember was when we were in the front garden, which was not the same, but just a pile of earth and what I found strange was that we did not have to go out of our gate and in through our neighbours gate but just walked over the earth and we were there.

I believe the next-door house was not badly damaged and their children were possibly told to keep us two amused which they did with the help of a wind-up gramophone and one or maybe two records.

I have no direct memory before this of the sound of the bombs etc. but was told about it later. Also, I cannot remember anything after the gramophone for some years.

I was told that Lesley and I were put to bed in the small room at the back of the house (the windows were protected with a stick-on netting) whilst our parents stayed up all night planning the move back to our own house.

The next day I think I got in everyone's way because I wanted to hunt for the honeycomb which I seemed to think was behind the sofa. I grew up with the firm idea that the raid was all about the attack on the honeycomb.

Acknowledgement to John Barr for allowing me to print this account
=====================================================

 

From this account, the Barr family states that Colchester Rd was first to be hit.
However, the general consensus is the Willingham house was the first to be damaged.
Arthur Beamont when visiting Wormingford, recalls how he watched the German bomber flying low from the Assington direction, dropping its first bomb on Nayland Road.
There is aslo conflicting stories of how many bombs fell, ranging from seven to ten
Seven would seem the most plausible.
Whatever the reason for the attack, everyone agrees the Factory was the target, as it ignored the blackout instructions
.

 

This is the bungalow photographed during 2014
Bungalow dated circa 1940
Home of the "Barr" family

 


Shrapnel of the German Bomb

The thickness of the bomb splinters indicating a thin case bomb specifically designed to cause maximum blast damage for it’s size/weight but having a poor ability to penetrate thick/reinforced concrete.
The bomb splinters are mounted on a piece of hardboard, by wire, just as a means to display them and keep them together.

Stephen Barr



The bomb crater is on the building plot next door (centre of image) to the bungalow. The pile of wood is amongs`t the materials already on site for construction work to commence on the new property which in the event didn’t happen until after the war ended in 1945
One of the bombs narrowly missed a pile of stacked bricks.

My understanding is that this building plot is on the other side of the bungalow to the village and you can just make out the Colchester Road in the photo which confirms this.


19/01/23
Research by Alan Beales
Also Stephen Barr