First civilian WW2 death fund to be spent

Victoria Road Image copyright 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

A disaster fund set up following the first World War Two civilian deaths on the British mainland is finally going to be spent, it has emerged.

The money was collected after a German Heinkel aircraft crashed in Victoria Road, Clacton, on 30 April, 1940.

The fund continued to help residents affected by enemy raids, but was banked and forgotten about following the war.

Tendring District Council has now decided to use the remaining £1,700 on improvements to a memorial site.

Interactive Victoria Road in Clacton in 1940 and how it looks today

As it looks in 2016

Victoria Road today


Victoria Road in 1940
Image copyright 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 copyright 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), when the German bomber crashed, causing "severe damage and considerable distress".

The council will add £10,000 to the existing fund and intends to improve the landscaping around the memorial bench and plaque.

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The original fund was administered by a number of CUDC officials and continued to be used throughout the war to help anyone affected by air activity.

After 1946, it was deposited into a Post Office Savings Bank Account, where it remains to this day.

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

Image copyright Tendring District Council
Image caption A bench and plaque currently sits at the site of the Henikel crash in Clacton
Image copyright Tendring District Council
Image caption The ledger for the fund recorded £243, 13 shillings and six pence
Image copyright Pathe
Image caption The wreckage of the bomber in Victoria Road after it crashed to the ground

The account documents were discovered in Clacton Town Hall during an office move four years ago.

Michael Talbot, the council's cabinet member for environment, said: "It is our aim to have something ready for the 77th anniversary of the Heinkel coming down on 30 April, although we may have to add the memorial stone at a later date.

"We are also keen to trace anyone whose family had any connections with the event, so that we can invite them along to the ceremony and they can be part of this special occasion."

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