and was probably returning from a mission as it flew in from the north
of the town and headed south toward the continent.
Wharf, working at Woodrow’s on the Market Hill turned to look
at the town clock. Was
it lunchtime yet? The time he remembers as being one minute to
one and then the sound of machine gun fire could be heard.
Rumsey, a schoolboy, was going home to Coronation Place for
dinner and upon seeing the plane fly past he crouched against
a fence. It was
still firing as it flew off south toward Lakenheath. “We saw the hole in the (classroom) ceiling after
dinner”, he recalls.
Bond, now living in Australia, was working for F.J. Mount
& Son in the chalk tip at the time and it was just before
his lunch too when he heard the gunfire. He took quickly precautions and hid under a truck.
Espie had a lucky escape.
She recalls, “We
had been in the cookery room that day, and had gone home for
dinner and saw the plane go over from our window.
It was going down the London Road, we didn’t see any
firing, but he was fairly low and when we got back they told
us the cookery room ceiling had been hit.”
Blanchflower, now living in the U.S., remembers the day as a
schoolboy clearly and gives us an indication into what the
target may have been … a line of factory workers.
“We were having lunch (at home) …
when it was time to go to school.
The ‘Alll Clear’ had not sounded but our evacuee
and me set off. It
was the day for my music lesson and I was about to drop off
the satchel at the music teacher’s house when I noticed
a line of factory girls returning to work at Roughts.
Suddenly out of the clouds came a Dornier 17 and
started machine gunning the road. I grabbed the evacuee and
dived to the ground at the teacher’s door. The plane flew by
still firing and seconds later it seemed my Dad appeared on
his bicycle and escorted us back home. One of the factory
workers was reported as being injured by flying stones.”
the school the target of the aircraft?
Or was the school merely caught up in gunfire as the enemy
attacked a nearby opportunist target?
What is known is that there was low cloud that day over the UK,
which prevented the majority of enemy operations against this country.
However it is documented that on that day “a
few inland penetrations by single aircraft taking advantage of cloud
cover (took place) … and 15 people were killed by a raid on
17s being based in Belgium at that time of the war would this aircraft
have been the one to attack Grantham?
Its purely speculation of course and the link between the events
is suggested without any evidence, but a straight line from Grantham to
Belgium would put Brandon in the flight line.
We probably will never know.
Power plant: Two 1,000 hp Bramo
323P nine-cylinder air-cooled engines.
Span: 59ft ¾in (18.00m)
Length: 52ft 0in (15.85m)
Max Speed: 265 mph (427km/h) at
16,400 ft (4,998m)
Armament: Between four and eight
7.9mm machine guns in front, rear and beam cockpit mountings and ventral
Bomb load: Normal load of
Accommodation: Pilot and four
Recognition: Thin, 'pencil' fuselage
with bulged forward fuselage featuring heavily-framed cockpit and
ventral gun position. Small twin fins at the rear. Main wheels retract
into engine fairings.
Dornier 17 3-angle