Late in the night of April 30/May 1, 1940, a German Heinkel III bomber was heard circling low over the town of Clacton-on-Sea. It had been crippled by the anti-aircraft fire and was seeking a suitable spot for landing. Apparently one of its engines had failed, and as the machine was carrying a mine the crew must have known the dangers attending a forced landing, After 35 minutes the roar of its engines ceased; and rapidly losing height, the bomber crashed close to Clacton High Street, and only about 200 yards from the sea front. For some time the blazing petrol tanks prevented anyone approaching the aeroplane. One or two people had actually come towards it when, some minutes after the crash, the mine it was carrying exploded. It was the terrific force of this explosion that caused the major disaster and the very severe damage to so many houses in this seaside town. Later the bodies of four Germans were found in and around, the wreckage. An engine of the Heinkel which crashed at Clacton on April 30 came to rest up against a house (circle). Neighbouring houses (above right) also received serious damage. It may seem surprising that a bomber carrying a mine exploding just outside a house (above) should not raze the house to the ground. But three houses were obliterated, and the damage was so widespread that another fifty houses were damaged. The explosion blew a deep crater in the ground several yards in diameter.' Although about 156 people were hurt, fortunately only six, including the four Germans in the plane were killed. The local A.R.P. personnel dealt with the casualties coolly and quickly while the A.F.S. got the fire under control in an hour. Tragic and terrifying as the circumstances were, the calamity demonstrated in a practical way the efficiency of the local A.R.P. Taken from a report on 10th May 1940 in the War Illustrated ..