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A piece of shrapnel from the land mine which came down in the road in East Mersea.
20 November 1940 Parachute mine dropped on road between West and East Mersea at 03.35. Large crater in road. One slight casualty and two cottages damaged. Road impassable for four days. [ Community at War by Roger Bullen, Appendix 5.]
Ron Green says: The mine came down in the road by East Hall Cottages. It is thought the parachute failed to open so the mine went deep into the road before exploding. A lot of hard clay was thrown into the air and came down all over the surrounding area. Some came through the roof of East Hall Cottages rendering them uninhabitable. In one cottage lived Aunt and Uncle Jack (John) Green, daughter Nellie and husband Frank Richer, and their children Daphne and Keith. They had to be rehoused in an empty cottage at Weir Farm. In the other East Hall Cottage lived Sam Austin and his wife.
Another parachute mine came down that night at Fingringhoe, but landed in a field and caused little damage.
Howard Winch said in a letter a few days later "I hear now that the crater at East Mersea I wrote you about is the 2nd largest in England - the largest being at Fingringhoe 5 miles away. Pieces of silk parachute have been found & pieces of aluminium shell case proving it was a landmine which fell like a shell as the parachute did not open. It was well it did not otherwise the 13th century East Mersea church less than mile away would have been damaged as also the school & some houses. These all escaped as the mine buried itself so deeply before exploding. "
In Community at War, East Mersea War Diary, Roger Bullen says:
"21 November 1940 Land mine on road East Mersea to West Mersea caused crater 50ft diameter and 30ft deep. East Mersea cut off for 4 days. Two houses and some telephone wires damaged.
The piece of shrapnel was donated by John Simons, whose family had come from Chatham for safety at the outbreak of WW2, initially to stay with Mabel and Henry Farthing who were responsible for Church Farm and Coopers Beach. Mabel was the sister of John's father.
The dates above are confusing, one item saying it was the morning of 20th and the other 21st. Howard Winch's letters also suggest it was 21st.
Accession No. 2016.10.001
Date: 21 November 1940
Photo: Mersea Museum - John Simons
Image ID JAS_001
Category 1 Mersea-->East
Category 2 War-->World War 2
Category 3 Museum-->Artefacts and Contents
This image is part of the Mersea Museum Collection.