RAF Hornchurch Remembered with Service at RJ Mitchell Primary School

RAF Hornchurch Remembered with Service at RJ Mitchell Primary School

Veterans, politicians, parents and pupils looked to the sky on 25th September as a Spitfire flew over RJ Mitchell School during a poignant ceremony to mark 100 years of RAF Hornchurch and the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.


MP Iain Duncan Smith, secretary of state for work and pensions, was a guest speaker at the event. His father, W. G. G. Duncan Smith, was a decorated flying ace based at Hornchurch.

But it was the 200 pupils of the Tangmere Crescent school – which stands on the old grounds of the airfield and has a strong connection with the RAF – who stole the show on the warm, sunny day. Appropriately dressed in old military uniforms, the youngsters listened as tributes were paid to their headteacher Barry Read during the rededication of the RAF memorial stone, which has been moved near to the entrance of the school.

Cllr Barry Mugglestone, chairman of the Elm Park Royal British Legion Branch, opened the service. “You must be very proud of your children,” he told Mr Read. “They look fantastic in their costumes.”

Mr Duncan Smith was then invited to say a few words, and read a passage from his father’s book –Spitfire into Battle. I’m here not as an MP, but to pay my respects to my father,” he said. “He served at RAF Hornchurch and was a very brave man. He was in action most of the war. “They were all brave men and we are here today to commemorate, but also to celebrate.”

Group captain David Manning, station manager at RAF Northolt – the last remaining Battle of Britain station – was also present. He said he was honoured to be invited and “couldn’t imagine” fighting in the battle. “It’s up to the future generations to carry on the memory,” he said.

RAF veterans and friends Les Temple, 90, and Leslie Sutton, 91, both of Limewood Court, Ilford, highlighted the importance of informing the younger generations about the war. “I often quote Winston Churchill, who said anything forgotten can be repeated,” said Leslie. “And that’s true, we need to teach the children about what happened. It is so important.”

HBS were appointed to construct the new school extension and if you have any questions regarding this project, please call Andrew Pratt on 01708 744 574

The following link is to the story published by the Romford Recorder:

RAF Hornchurch remembered with poignant service at RJ Mitchell Primary School

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