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WW2 aircraft crash in Wivenhoe

I am very interested in finding out more about the German JU88 that crashed in the Vine Farm area on 28/7/1941. I have looked online but I'm struggling to find much. Does anyone have any information about this incident? I would be very grateful for any info. Thanks.


  • edited February 2014
    @ Simonp43 - if you've had a good search online then you've probably stumbled across this website:
    There are contact details for the people who run it, and they do list the crash at Vine Farm. Could be worth getting in touch with them if you haven't already done so.

    There is also this bit of internet chat about it on this site:

     Merlin Pete:
    "Ju88, crashed in Wivenhoe in 1940 or 41, I'm fairly sure. I have the date
    somewhere, I'll try and remember to have a look when I'm back in the UK."

    David Burke:
    "Thanks for the replies ! I would love to hear some more about Wivenhoe! Merlin -do you know if much else of this aircraft was excavated."

    Merlin Pete:
    "The only information I have is Ju88c Crashed Wivenhoe 28/7/1941. I'm not 100% sure that is the prop, but I'm fairly sure it is. I recognise the stub shaft that is still attached to it. There was a small display of parts at the Rebel Air Museum."

    David Burke:
    "Thanks Pete ! I thought there might be an association with Rebel from
    where it was picked up from . I will hunt down the Wivenhoe details - thanks!"

    "To help things along - Simon Parry's "Intruders over Britain" gives the
    'Wivenhoe' Ju88 id as a c-4 W.Nr. 0724 R4+KK from 2/NJG2. Not sure of
    his source though."

    Edit: The Rebel Air Museum, based at Southend, doesn't seem to exist anymore according to this
    although someone mentions that "many of the museum exhibits passed to a private museum somewhere on the Earls Colne site" )
  • ...and this is a photo of the propeller hub that is being discussed here
    The speculation is that it could be from the German JU88 that crashed in the Vine Farm area.

    Could be worth getting in touch with the Boxted Airfield museum too, they may have some clues.

  • edited February 2014
    A bit more information is to be found on the link below. It includes the names of the crew and says two of them were buried at the Cannock Chase German Military Cemetery:

    "Crashed due to unknown reasons." - according to one of the people posting on the site.
  • edited February 2014
    And here is the grave of Lt. Lothar Dr. Bisang. 

    According to one of the people posting here Lt Bisang was amongst the crew of the plane that came down at Vine Farm in 1941
  • Thanks Roger and Pointyhead for all your help. I had found a little bit of info online but this crash doesn't seem as well documented as some other crashes I've looked into. I have actually ordered the "Intruders Over Britain" book as there is info in there about the crash apparently.
    I was told years ago that the crash happened near Keelers Lane but I'm now thinking that it occurred nearer the Vine Farm Estate area. The info you've provided says it crashed near to Vine Farm but once again I'm having difficultly finding the location of Vine Farm. Do you know roughly where the crash happened or where Vine Farm was situated?
    Thanks again.
  • I've no idea where on the farm the crash happened, but Vine Farm House still stands (the grand building on the right, a few houses before Vine Parade, as you travel out of Wivenhoe). The farmland was behind that. Some has been built on but other areas that were fields belonging to Vine Farm remain as open space as recalled on the Forum here.
  • My 87 year old mother in law Margaret Wix (and her surviving brother and two sisters) all well remember the night that this plane crashed.  They lived at 2 Rectory Road and were woken by the roar of the plane as it skimmed over the rooftops in Rectory Road  When it crashed the huge fire lit up their bedrooms bright red.  The crash was in what was known as Second Field which was on the Four Field walk between the Cross and Keelars Lane.

    There was another crash of a second plane (American?) later in the First Field.  In the 50s us small boys used to go over there and collect small metal fragments from this plane..

    My father in law dug up a lot of this area to extract sand and gravel!

  • I have been doing research into this crash site for a number of years now, and have spoken to two people in Wivenhoe (now sadly deceased) about their recollections of it.
    I've narrowed the possible crash area down to a searchable size, but I'm sure that some of it has been subjected to gravel extraction. There is no information about anything being uncovered at that time though.
    There is no definitive combat report for this aircraft - but heavy cannon fire was heard over southern Colchester, and the Ju88c was observed to descend under power and in flames above Rowhedge.
    My opinion is that the pilot was attempting to crash land on the first open area that he could see.

    Graham - I would be very interested if you could find out where the boundaries of the 'second field' were.
  • I always thought that the plane crashed into the area where the houses in Croquet Gardens on Rectory Road now are.
  • My understanding, from what I have been told, is that it was not adjacent to Rectory Road, and indeed, if it had crashed so close to The Rectory, surely it would have resulted in some considerable damage to the Rectory in light of the large explosion on impact.
  • Looking at the pictures above, I'd say that the propeller boss is from a Ju88. If you look closely at the place where the actual propeller would have fitted, you can see that, as was often the case, the props were made of wood. That would mean that the metal one mentioned may have come from the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt which crashed onto the allotments.
  • This is very interesting, thanks for the information everyone. The eye witness accounts are particularly interesting Graham- thanks! Pitfall- if you've narrowed down the crash site to a searchable size would you be interested in having a search of the area? Maybe with a metal detector (if permission can be sought)?
  • edited February 2014
    Yes, I would - but due to the stony nature of the ground, we'd need something pretty powerful.
    A detection depth of up to 18 inches or more is what we need, as all the parts on or near the surface would almost certainly already have been gathered up.
    The aluminium alloy airframe would have oxidized to a white powder long ago due to the slightly acid nature of the ground, but there should be perspex fragments from the cockpit canopy near the surface - though we'd have to be already digging to find those.
    I'd imagine that from the angle of impact and the geology in that area, what is left probably broke up on impact and shouldn't be too deep - so we'd be looking at steel and stainless steel engine parts, armour plate and the heavy machine guns/cannon.
    All this is purely speculative though, as I think that all crashed enemy aircraft belong to the queen, so she gets first go at digging.
  • Hi Pitfall, yes I believe all air crash sites are protected but we wouldn't be digging the actual aircraft itself out. I'll send you a message.
  • Some of that land is contaminated so I'd be wary of digging it up.
  • I remember the search and original excavations looking for the JU88. The
    metal detectors at the time failed to find it but a local dowser was supposed to
    of located the aircraft. I do not know if this is true but I did witness the
    recovery of the little that was left of the aircraft. There was quite a lot of
    aluminium angle framework and Perspex from the canopy, also a number of broken
    instruments. I also remember seeing quite a lot of leather fragments, they might
    of been from the pilots seat or flying jacket.

    The excavations were very deep considering the nature of the ground. They
    went down over two meters as far as I recall. From memory the location is in the
    field to the left of the public open space at the end of Henrietta Close and
    Paddock Way, 70 meters along the hedge and 40 meters into the field.
  • Thanks for the info wreckfinder, I'll send you a message. Mottza- what is the land supposed to be contaminated with?
  • I think it might be landfill
  • My father-in law who's in his 80's talks of a German bomber that came down in Wivenhoe park, up by Wivenhoe house. And as young local lads they raced to the site following the crash to collect memorablilia. One lad wanted a leather flying helmet, so picked one up with the head still attached,  released the straps and with it the head to the floor, put it on and cycled off on his bike.

  • I too can remember a conversation a very long time ago with a lady who was one of the first people to get the crash site. She claimed a parachute and one of the airmen's gloves. I remember her telling me that the parachute made very good knickers for ladies as it was fine silk. I remember not wanting to ask whether the airman was stilling wearing the gloves when she relieved them from him. It was so long ago I cannot remember her name but I think she too had to cycle up to the crash site with a basket on the front of her bike. It caused a lot of excitement at the time I think.  
  • Spare a thought for the daughter of the undertaker - she had to go round with a bucket collecting up what was left of the crew!
  • edited March 2014
    I found this a very interesting read. I'd been looking for information about this for some time as my father told me about this indecent many times when I was a young lad. Coincidentally my father is Graham's mother-in-law's brother. 

    I always remember him describing in graffic detail the scene of the crash. There were various body parts strewn over the site and a woman trying to remove a ring off the hand of one of the dead crew. Also at the time my Grandfather who was suffering from tuberculosis (he eventually died in 1942) had to live in a shed at the bottom of their garden. Needless to say the poor man was terrified.

    He always described the crash site to be in the field behind the cricket pitch. I think I'm right in saying that this was all excavated for sand and gravel and was used for landfill back in the late 1970s as I used to work there.

    Another one of my father's wartime tales (which he recently spoke about) was that he and his sister were strafed by a German aircraft while out picking blackberries at the Broomie. The aircraft was eventually chased off by 2 Hurricanes and was brought down in the Brightlingsea/St Osyth area. 
  • Two Ju88's were shot down near Brightlingsea - one crashed between Brightlingsea and Point Clear, and the other next to the sewage works.
  • Having lived in Wivenhoe for 85 years I can assure PhilBe that the crash site of the Junkers 8 8 was on Lennox's Farm land as detailed by "Graham" in his entry of Feb. 16th.   The American fighter plane, written about elsewhere of the Forum, crashed in to the hedge, having just skimmed the Council houses in Rectory Road, in the corner of the allotments, just beyond the top right hand corner of the Cricket  ground.   Cricket was being played at the time.

    The entry concerning a plane which crashed near Wivenhoe House - I cannot recall this at all, and this fact has been confirmed by another well-known local who, like me, has lived in Wivenhoe for the past 80+ years.   We do remember Wivenhoe House and Park being used by the army during the war - initially by the 2nd. Royal Tank Regiment before shipping out to Africa - finally the 2nd S.A.S.who, from time to time, mysteriously disappeared to return some weeks later having been dropped in to Occupied France to carry out sabotage etc. behind enemy lines. During the war, the Gooch family, owners of  Wivenhoe Park, moved in to one of their other farms in the Elmstead area.






  • This is all very interesting, it sounds as though several planes crashed in the Wivenhoe area!
  • edited March 2014
    Just the two, as far as I am aware - the Thunderbolt on the allotments, and the Ju88 a little beyond that.
  • If you are still looking for the ju88 crash site, i suggest you go on to Google Earth, home onto the Wivenhoe football pitch  and draw the cursor south,over the first hedge and on to that oval shaped field. There looks like two foot paths crossing each other in the middle of the field. the plane came down within feet of where those paths cross. how do i know, i was standing with my Grandparents, and other people, in a gateway to the field soon after it happened. I was six years old. Regarding  the crash on Wivenhoe  park,there was'nt one. they did have a wingless, rudderless bomber parked near the Brightlingsea  road junction ,which we used to cut some perspex out of. I understand the aircraft was used for side exiting by the SAS.
  • I know the field the plane came down in as i was told by the farmer that gave me permission to metal detect the two fields he owed that there was a german plane crash on his land during ww2.
  • Did you find anything...?
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