...at St Elphege's Church in Wallington: my home parish where I was baptised, confirmed, and married and where my family were part of the parish community for decades. It was lovely to be back. I was invited by the Union of Catholic Mothers to talk about the story of Croydon Aiport, and if you think that sounds obscure, that's because you just don't understand how important it all was, and why Wallington is so proud of this heritage. It was from that airport on the open land on the edge of Wallington - New Barn Farm, the manors of Bandon and Foresters, mentioned in the Doomsday Book - that the air routes of the world were carved out. From here, Amy Johnson flew solo to Australia. From here, daily, the British newspapers were flown across to the European mainland, and the 12.30 to Paris linked Europe's two best-known capital cities. Here, Lindbergh flew in to a hero's welcome after flying the Atlantic. And here, in the summer of 1940, the young men of the Royal Air Force defended our country and its freedom in the Battle of Britain.
Want to know more? Read the books: there are four of them in all. Try The First Croydon Airport which tells the story of WWI at the airfield, or The Great Days with stories of Amy Johnson, Charles Kingsford Smith, Bert Hinkler etc....or this one about the Battle or Britain or this one which wraps up the story...
Writing the books on the history of Croydon Airport was a major part of my young adult life. My father became the first Treasurer of the Croydon Airport Society which would eventually establish a fine museum at the Airport where new generations can learn the story of the magnificent early years of flight in Britain.
It was lovely to be home: a happy afternoon.