First civilian WW2 death victims honoured in Clacton

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Image source, Tendring District Council
Image caption, A German bomber, carrying sea mines, crashed in Clacton on 30 April, 1940, killing both the crew and a couple called Mr and Mrs Gill

An eyewitness account of a plane crash that caused the first World War Two civilian deaths on the British mainland will be read out at a memorial service.

The account was one of a number gleaned from survivors of the downed German Heinkel aircraft in Victoria Road, Clacton, on 30 April, 1940.

Frederick and Dorothy Gill both died when the plane landed on their home.

Sunday's service will take place at the refurbished memorial site nearby where a commemorative stone is to be placed.

The memorial works have been funded by an air disaster fund originally set up in 1940 but forgotten about following the war.

Image source, Tendring District Council
Image caption, There is a small memorial to Mr and Mrs Gill, along with the German crew, on a bench in Clacton
Image source, PA
Image caption, Heinkel 111 bombers, such as the one which crashed at Clacton, were used during the Battle of Britain

The original fund was established by the Rev HG Redgrave, then chairman of Clacton Urban District Council (CUDC), after the crashed German bomber caused "severe damage and considerable distress".

The council added £10,000 to the existing £1,700 fund to improve the landscaping around the memorial bench and plaque.

After 1946, the fund was deposited into a Post Office Savings Bank Account.

The amount of £243, 13 shillings and six pence held in the account in 1950 is now worth around £1,700.

Image source, Tendring District Council
Image caption, Sunday's memorial service will take place amid new seating where a memorial stone will soon be put in place
Image source, Tendring District Council
Image caption, The ledger for the fund recorded £243, 13 shillings and six pence
Image source, Pathe
Image caption, The wreckage of the bomber in Victoria Road after it crashed to the ground

Items preserved from the scene of the crash 77 years ago will be brought to the service by the Clacton VCH Group (Clacton at War) group.

In March, the council asked for relatives or those who remembered the crash to come forward.

Although they have not been named, the council said a number of people had come forward to share their memories of the crash.

Michael Talbot, the council's cabinet member for environment, said: "We had a good response to an appeal for anyone connected - or with family connected - to the plane coming down in 1940 to contact us.

"Through the appeal we have received eye-witness accounts and we are hoping that some of those who came forward will be able to turn up on Sunday for the ceremony."

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