The Museum :: Local Memorials Project
In 2006, the Museum decided to erect permanent memorials to all those Battle of Britain pilots who lost their lives within a ten miles radius of Shoreham.
The list of names is not a short one. Amongst others it includes Flt/Lt James Paterson and Sgt Trevor Oldfield (both of 92 Squadron), F/O Nathaniel Barry (501 Squadron), Sgt John Ellis (85 Squadron), and Sgt Jack Hammerton (615 Squadron). Over the coming years, our aim is to erect a suitable memorial at, or as close as possible to, the spot where each of these brave young men made the ultimate sacrifice.
The first memorial stone was dedicated to Flt/Lt Jimmy Paterson on Wednesday 27th September 2006 at Sparepenny Lane, Farningham. Jimmy died on the same spot on 27th September 1940, after his Spitfire was shot down by Me109s. The memorial service received widespread media coverage and was marked by a Spitfire flypast. In attendance were members of Jimmy's family who had travelled all the way from New Zealand. You can read a full report of the dedication in the Winter '06 edition of Friends of the Few magazine (.pdf file, 1.5Mb).
The second memorial stone was dedicated to Flying Officer Nathaniel Barry of 501 Squadron on Saturday 26th May 2007. Nat was a South African volunteer. On 7th October 1940, he was involved in combat with Me109s over Wrotham. His Hurricane was hit and severely damaged and he was forced to bale out, but he was dead before he reached the ground. Nat's memorial dedication service was marked by a Hawker Hurricane flypast and took place at Court Lodge Farm, Darenth near Dartford, Kent. Images from the service.
The third memorial was dedicated to Sergeant Trevor Oldfield of 92 Squadron on the 67th anniversary of his death - 27th September 2007. Trevor was shot down in combat with Me109s over Dartford in Kent at 3.18pm on 27th September 1940. He died in his Spitfire R6622 at Hesketh Park, Dartford. The memorial service was marked by an RAF bugler and a Spitfire flypast. Images from the service.
The fourth memorial was dedicated to Sergeant John Ellis of No.85 Squadron on Saturday 17th May 2008 alongside Warren Road in Chelsfield, Kent. It was on the afternoon of Sunday 1st September 1940 that Sgt Ellis, better known as 'Hugh' fell from combat high above Orpington. He was listed as 'missing' and it was not until 1993 that his subsequently recovered remains were positively identified. The memorial stone overlooks the field where Hawker Hurricane P2673 drilled itself and the forever young 'Hugh' into the Kent soil. The memorial service took place in the pouring rain, but the rotten weather did not stop over 200 hundred people attending to remember a brave RAF pilot who gave all he had to give. Images from the service.
The fifth memorial was dedicated to the Australian Battle of Britain 'ace', Flight Lieutenant Paterson Clarence Hughes DFC of 234 Squadron on Saturday 23rd August 2008 alongside Main Road, Sundridge, near Sevenoaks in Kent. It was during the early evening of Saturday 7th September 1940 that Flt/Lt Hughes was tragically killed after his Spitfire X4009 apparently collided with a Dornier Do17 bomber over Sundridge. The memorial service was well attended by notable names including Wing Commander Bob Doe DSO, DFC & Bar and Group Captain Peter Norford, the Air Attaché of the Royal Australian Air Force. The occasion ended with a wonderful tribute flypast by the Biggin Hill based 'Spirit of Kent' Spitfire. Images from the service.
The sixth memorial was dedicated to Flying Officer Robin McGregor 'Bubble' Waterston of 603 Squadron on Tuesday 29th September 2009, adjacent to the entrance into the Royal Artillery Barracks at Woolwich in London . F/O Waterston tragically lost his life during the early evening of Saturday 31st August 1940 when he was shot down in his Spitfire X4273, which crashed in Repository Road outside the Barrack gates. The memorial was unveiled by his Worshipful The Mayor, Councillor Allan MacCarthy; Harold Bennett, a wartime veteran pilot of 603 Squadron laid a wreath on behalf of the RAF. Those attending the unveiling were afterwards kindly granted the privilege of entry into the historical Woolwich Barracks Officers Mess, where refreshments were served. Images from the service.
The Local Memorials Project is an ambitious and expensive undertaking, for which we rely heavily upon volunteers and funds raised by our Signing Days. If you would like to help us achieve our goal, please get in touch. Or help us by buying a limited edition commemorative print.
Are you looking to discover some family history linked to a serviceman or servicewoman? Please visit 'Poppy Research' to discover more.