Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fairlop at War - Event

The Fairlop Heritage Group will be commemorating years 1914 to 1915 in a Fairlop at War event at Fairlop Waters on 11th April 2015 (details). This date has been chosen as it falls half way between two significant dates in the history of Fairlop Plain. In October 1914 land by Hainault Farm was earmarked by the Admiralty as being suitable for use as a Day Landing Ground and in October 1915 the Royal Flying Corps had their first encounter with Zeppelins, but were very slow in climbing to their height, and the Zeppelins continued with their bombing of civilians in London. The Royal Flying Corps flag will be flown at this and subsequent Fairlop at War events - This flag has been handmade by the Fairlop Heritage Group treasurer, because these are not commercially available.

In WW1 Major Arthur Harris was Station Commander at Hainault Farm, (in WW2 he was known as Bomber Harris, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief RAF Bomber Command). In some quarters he is held responsible for the bombing of Dresden, when in reality he was ordered to do so by Churchill.

2015 is the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden and visiting will be Hans Haenlein from Dresden. In the spirit of reconciliation, there will be an opportunity to meet Hans and former Flight Sergeant Max Bean, of 115 Squadron Bomber Command.

In Coventry and Dresden, a Cross of Nails has become a symbol of reconciliation. The Cross of Nails was made of three nails from the roof truss of the old Coventry Cathedral, which was later transferred to the new cathedral. There are over 160 Cross of Nails Centres all over the world, all of them bearing a cross made of three nails from the ruins, similar to the original. A Coventry Cross of Nails and exhibits will be on display throughout the event.

David Martin
Chairman Fairlop Heritage Group

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