Search

First World War centenary: Bravery of Sutton’s Farm’s pilots commemorated by museum

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 September 2015

Sopwith Pup aircraft 189 from night flying squadron at Sutton's Farm

Sopwith Pup aircraft 189 from night flying squadron at Sutton's Farm

Archant

William Leefe Robinson, Frederick Sowrey, Wulstan Tempest.

These names may not immediately spring to mind when contemplating Havering’s historical figures, but the faces behind them were responsible for some of the most heroic acts in the borough during the First World War.

Havering Museum volunteer Dennis Lynch, who has created an exhibition on Sutton's Farm aerodrome in Hornchurch, which played a vital role during the First World War. Picture: Havering MuseumHavering Museum volunteer Dennis Lynch, who has created an exhibition on Sutton's Farm aerodrome in Hornchurch, which played a vital role during the First World War. Picture: Havering Museum

The trio were pilots at Hornchurch’s Sutton’s Farm aerodrome and their story is being revisited as part of a new exhibition at Havering Museum, created by Dennis Lynch over the course of a year.

Dennis said: “It’s an amazing story of endeavour and courage. The three very brave young pilots effectively stopped the German airships from attacking London.”

The pilots’ story, explored in a Recorder feature last year to mark the centenary of the war, began 100 years ago, when Sutton’s Farm was officially opened on October 3, 1915.

Home to the Royal Flying Corps, the Royal Air Force’s predecessor, the aerodrome became famous for the bravery of its 39 Squadron.

Wulstan Tempest. [Picture: Hornchurch Streets of Heroes by Richard Smith]Wulstan Tempest. [Picture: Hornchurch Streets of Heroes by Richard Smith]

Leefe Robinson became Britain’s most famous pilot after his exploits on the night of September 2, 1916, which saw him become the first to shoot down a German airship during the conflict.

He is oft-cited as bringing down one of the feared Zeppelins, but it was actually a Schütte-Lanz.

National hero Leefe Robinson, awarded the Victoria Cross by King George V, was soon followed by Sowrey and Tempest, who shot down enemy aircraft in later weeks, becoming recipients of the Distinguished Service Order.

All three pilots received silver cups from the parish council.

Frederick Sowrey.  [Picture: Hornchurch Streets of Heroes by Richard Smith]Frederick Sowrey. [Picture: Hornchurch Streets of Heroes by Richard Smith]

Sutton’s Farm became RAF Hornchurch in 1928 and later achieved legendary status.

The exhibition opens on September 12 at the museum, in High Street, Romford.

Dennis said: “I am proud to have created what I hope will interest many visitors to the museum.”

Open days will be held on September 12 and November 14, making entry to the museum free.

William Leefe Robinson.  [Picture: Hornchurch Streets of Heroes by Richard Smith]William Leefe Robinson. [Picture: Hornchurch Streets of Heroes by Richard Smith]

Visit haveringmuseum.org.uk.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford News Stories

18:43

Doormen from a Hornchurch pub came to the rescue of a man who had been stabbed on his way home from a night out.

The hard work of students and staff at Havering Sixth Form College has seen the institution awarded a Good rating by Ofsted.

15:28

Musical theatre star Lee Mead will share some of the magical moments that have taken place in his career with audiences at the Hornchurch theatre next year.

Saint Francis Hospice’s choir raised nearly £2,000 after hosting its Autumn Voices concert.

12:10

The annual Christmas Cracker returned to Hornchurch this weekend as residents gathered to watch the moment this year’s Christmas lights were turned on.

10:11

Childhood friends were delighted when they more than tripled their target to raise funds for Children with Cancer UK with a special haircut in Upminster.

09:22

A 33-year-old man has been charged with drink driving following a car crash with an ambulance in Romford.

Havering and Redbridge’s London Assembly member, Keith Prince, has been officially reselected by the Conservative party to contest the seat in the 2020 elections.

PROMOTED CONTENT

From November, The Mercury in Romford begins to celebrate Christmas. The mall has plenty of gift ideas, fun events and activities for everyone

Vauxhall has completed its sport utility vehicle range with the third, and largest, Grandland X. We put the SUV, now available at Tony LeVoi in Romford, to the test.

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining,” so the saying goes. So if some warm weather is making your conservatory uninhabitable, think about replacing its roof with a flat one and adding a roof lantern instead.

Newsletter Sign Up

Romford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

News from your area

Competitions

A Romford photographer impressed the judges of a national creative photography competition with a picture of a stunning sunset.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now