Recalling the Hermann bomb that failed to explode in Lowestoft
PUBLISHED: 17:00 29 June 2016
Lowestoft can hardly be said to have escaped lightly from the repeated bombing raids it suffered during the Second World War.
But the town can at least look back on one near miss, which saw it avoid even worse devastation.
It was 75 years ago this month that the Luftwaffe dropped the largest bomb it ever released over Lowestoft.
Miraculously, the 1,000kg device –nicknamed Hermann by the Germans after the head of the Luftwaffe Hermann Göring – did not explode and became a focus of wonder in the town, before it was eventually removed by bomb disposal experts.
On the anniversary of this great escape for Lowestoft, local aviation historian Bob Collis recalled the episode, which came during one of the Germans’ most intensive onslaughts on the town.
The air attack was first detected just after midnight on June 4, 1941. A single German bomber, understood to be a Heinkel He 111, approached over the sea and dropped a mixed bomb-load on the town.
The first bomb completely destroyed East’s Garage in Whapload Road, seriously damaging other houses nearby. The second, an incendiary oil bomb, landed at the bottom of Frost’s Alley Score. The third, a 250kg high explosive type, exploded on impact – severely damaging 12 houses on Old Nelson Street.
But it was the last bomb that fell, near to the Eagle Tavern, which will live long in the memory of the town. The device – Hermann – fell in the road opposite 70 Tonning Street.
Rather than explode, it gouged a deep crater, sending water gushing from a fractured main.
Mr Collis said: “Houses within a 100 yard radius were evacuated – if one was found today the town would probably be cleared.”
It is understood that one person was killed and five others injured in the raid.
The Royal Engineers Bomb Disposal Squad was called to defuse the bomb – eventually hoisting it out and issuing a clearance certificate on June 9.
Do you have a heritage story about Lowestoft? Email firstname.lastname@example.org