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Tides uncover Second World War aircraft on Blakeney Point

PUBLISHED: 16:14 14 December 2017 | UPDATED: 08:03 15 December 2017

Tides uncover Second World War aircraft on Blakeney Point. Pictures: National Trust

Tides uncover Second World War aircraft on Blakeney Point. Pictures: National Trust

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Erosion from tides on Blakeney Point in north Norfolk has briefly revealed what’s believed to be the wreck of a German aircraft, shot down during the Second World War.

Tides uncover Second World War aircraft on Blakeney Point. Pictures: National TrustTides uncover Second World War aircraft on Blakeney Point. Pictures: National Trust

The wreck was revealed for a short period, before tides and shingle covered it once more. But its position and research has led the National Trust to believe it’s the remains of a twin-engine German Heinkel.

In the early hours of June 19, 1940, a firefight broke out over the skies of Norfolk.

A British Blenheim from 23 Squadron engaged the German Heinkel and, as a result, the Heinkel’s engine caught fire.

Fleeing back across the coast, the Heinkel dumped its bombs and limped as far as Blakeney, before the second engine failed and it was forced to land in shallow waters close to the beach.

Tides uncover Second World War aircraft on Blakeney Point. Pictures: National TrustTides uncover Second World War aircraft on Blakeney Point. Pictures: National Trust

One crew member was wounded, but all four on board survived and were taken prisoner by the coastguard.

East Anglia bore the brunt of raids that night, as German planes targeted RAF stations in Norfolk and Suffolk.

In total, six Heinkels were shot down and two were damaged. Three Blenheims and two Spitfires also never made it home.

The rusting wreck of the Heinkel remained offshore at Blakeney until Trinity House ordered it to be blown up in 1969. However, recent shifting shores and tides uncovered the remains of the wreck, albeit briefly.

Tides uncover Second World War aircraft. The Heinkel on June 19, 1940 after landing at Blakeney Point. Pictures: Peter Brooks CollectionTides uncover Second World War aircraft. The Heinkel on June 19, 1940 after landing at Blakeney Point. Pictures: Peter Brooks Collection

During the war, it’s thought 2,500 aircraft crashed or made forced landings in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Angus Wainwright, National Trust archaeologist, said: “It’s a fascinating discovery. We knew that there had been a plane that had crashed on Blakeney Point during the Second World War, but we still needed to confirm that what we had discovered related to that wreck.

“It’s one of those stories where you start researching and the more we uncovered, the more we were drawn in. It’s more than a piece of metal, it’s the human story that’s attached to this discovery - the tragedy that unfolded on that night and a reminder of the heroism of those that took part in the Battle of Britain.”

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