Where the bombs fell on Lynn and Norwich - rarely-seen maps on show
PUBLISHED: 13:46 02 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:01 02 April 2019
They may not even have heard the drone of the bomber’s engines over the boozy din of a Friday night in a town centre bar.
Seconds after the single German aircraft flew over King’s Lynn, a direct hit on the Eagle pub left more than 40 dead.
Official records of the bombing on June 12, 1942 and other Second World War raids on the town go on display on Wednesday evening.
The centrepiece is a map of Lynn, showing where the 50 or so bombs which were dropped on the town fell.
“Blue is high-explosive, amber is incendiary and red is unexploded, said West Norfolk council archivist Luke Shackell. “Slightly more than 50 would be my best guess.” Mr Shackell said Lynn would have been a target of opportunity for passing enemy aircraft. Lone bombers appear to be responsible for the various sticks of dots on the map, as well as the attack that levelled The Eagle, on Norfolk Street.
“Probably a single aircraft on its way back from a shipping raid on The Wash,” said Mr Shackell. “I’ve still got my bombs. Oh look, there’s a town. Click. Let’s go home lads.”
Some 42 people didn’t go home from The Eagle at closing time. Another 13 were injured.
The official report says a 500lbs bomb penetrated the roof and smashed through two floors before exploding beneath the ground floor, leaving the pub and neighbouring fish shop “completely destroyed”.
The bomb which hit the pub, which was rebuilt in the 1950s, was one of three that fell on the town that night.
One damaged the roof of the nearby cattle market, the other leaving a 30ft-wide crater in a council rubbish dump.
The raid was one of two in which there were fatalities. The other was an attack on Lynn docks.
Otherwise, the town got off relatively lightly. A lengthy stick of bombs probably intended for South Lynn Station fell harmlessly on waste land.
Other buildings which were hit and suffered slight damage included St Faith’s Church, the Greenland Fishery and Victory pub.
In contrast, Norwich suffered its own mini-blitz in the Spring and Summer of 1942, in which many buildings including the city’s catherdral, pubs, shops, factories and homes were damaged. Its map records 679 bombs.
Part of the Norfolk Record Office’s Bombing and Blackout events, the Lynn map will be on display in the Stone Hall at King’s Lynn Town Hall from 6.30pm on Wednesday, April 3.
Norwich’s bomb map goes on display on Thursday, April 4 from 5.30 - 6.45pm at the Norfolk Records Office at County Hall.