The aircraft, belonging to 6/KG3, was tasked with bombing Coventry.
The mission was codenamed "Mondsheinesonate Korn" (Moonlight Sonata), and comprised a force of 450 aircraft from twenty-five squadrons (Geschwader) making up Luftflotte 2 and 3.
While inbound, the Dornier was hit by anti-aircraft fire, which disabled one of its engines.
It is assumed that the pilot decided to abort his attack and turned for base, jettisoning most of the bombload.
(This would have made the aircraft lighter, reducing the strain on the good engine, and, most importantly, enabled a forced or crash landing to have been undertaken as safely as possible.)
Shortly before 2200, the aircraft was seen at low altitude over Loughborough; it is assumed that the crew were attempting to make a forced-landing. Unfortunately, due to their low altitude, they were unable to avoid a row of Poplar trees; the Dornier struck the trees, and crashed and burned-out in the grounds of Prestwold Hall near Loughborough.
Eight SC50 kg bombs were found in the wreckage; the bomb release mechanism may have been damaged, or the crew may have been injured, and unable to continue the task of jettisoning them.
Out of the 450 aircraft that took part in the raid that night, this was the only one to be brought down.
The crew were:
I1967065 Oberleutnant OSWALD PREISS Pilot Aged 22
A1850183 Feldwebel KARL DILTHEY Observer Aged 32
M1967069 Unteroffizier GUNTER KUHNE Radio Operator Aged 21
G1967063 Obergefreiter WILHELM WELLENBROCK Gunner Aged 21
The 4 crew were buried with full military honours in Loughborough (London Road) Cemetery.