Are you living in a street named after a flying hero? Find out in a new book on Hornchurch
- Credit: Archant
They say every street has a story to tell. But maybe none so many, or so moving, as the thoroughfares of Hornchurch.
Nearly 50 roads in the town are named in memory of the heroes of the skies who served out of RAF Hornchurch in the First and Second World Wars. Many of them did not survive the conflicts.
Now historian Richard Smith tells the stories of the 48 in his new book, “Hornchurch Streets of Heroes”, released this bank holiday weekend.
One of the area’s main streets, Mungo Park Road - which snakes north to south from Wood Lane to Southend Road - is named after ace fighter pilot, Flight Lieutenant John Mungo-Park.
He served in the Fleet Air Arm before being transferred to the RAF and posted to No 74 Squadron at Hornchurch in 1939.
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He fought throughout the Battle of Britain but was tragically killed in 1941 while flying over the Channel during a raid into France.
Richard said: “I realised many people didn’t know the history behind where they were living. There was a lot of interest so I thought I’d put together this reference and people could look up the bio of each pilot.”
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Bader Way, in the heart of the Airfield Estate, is named in honour of the legendary Douglas Bader who flew Spitfires despite losing both legs in a plane crash before the Second World War.
He arrived at Hornchurch in late May 1940, during the Dunkirk operation, when the British Army was evacuated from the beaches as the advancing Germans took hold of France.
Bader was at Hornchurch for a week with No 222 Squadron and scored his first enemy aircraft hit during this time.
Many other men became household names during the war years, Al Deere, “Sailor” Malan, Robert Stanford Tuck and Harry Broadhurst.
Others, not so well known, are also included in the book: Bill Franklin, Hilary Edridge, Arthur Sarre, among others.
Richard has managed to find a photograph of every pilot, except two: Robert Dewey of 603 Squadron, who lies buried at St Andrews Church cemetery; and Squadron Leader HL Dawson, a New Zealander, who was Wing Commander Flying at Hornchurch in 1943.
He hopes that someone might be able to help,
Richard will be signing copies at the Rainham Fayre on Monday, where you will also be able to view the RAF Hornchurch and Battle of Britain Roadshow mobile museum and meet RAF wartime veterans.
The book is priced at £12 and will be available in book shops or by ordering direct from www.mitorpublications.co.uk