David was supposed to have been born in Stepney. Despite the fact that his parents lived in Barkingside. Mum Audrey, chose to remain in the care of the East End Maternity Hospital in Commercial Road, Stepney.
Due to unwelcome attention by the Luftwaffe, the Maternity Hospital was evacuated to Tyringham Hall, near Olney, Buckinghamshire, a magnificent stately home where David was born.
His first visit to Fairlop took place c.1953, when aged 10.
The previous year he had joined the 9th Ilford North Cub Pack, whose headquarters were on a site previously Site No 2 attached to RAF Station Fairlop. The group leaders were George Seabridge (Skip) and Valerie French (Rikki).
Fairlop was then an open space with the deteriorating residue of a fighter station all around. He saw concrete runways undulating to the horizon, tanks traps, gun pits and derelict Miskin hangars. Nearby were model aircraft being flown on control wires and a foreign man, thought to be German, whose dog understood commands in both English and German. In the distance cars and motorbikes were heard racing up another unseen runway. To a ten year old this was magical.
He should have taken more notice, he should have taken photographs.
Regretfully he did neither, especially as he did not possess a camera.
Hopefully, dogged determination and research have made up for this.
Some pundits consider that Fairlop is not worthy of recognition, because it was not operational during the Battle of Britain. In relevant publications, Fairlop barely gets a mention. As a consequence, it does not have a crest on the floor of the RAF Church in St Clement Dane, London.
As he grew older, he was able to confirm that Fairlop was a significant fighter station and designed an unofficial crest, worthy of the service and sacrifice of so many men and women. In the 1990’s, A note was left on the Manston web site asking if there was anyone else interested in RAF Station Fairlop. He received one reply. Colin Stevens provided so much information, it acted as a catalyst from which Fairlop Heritage Group was formed in 2009.
One the main objectives of Fairlop Heritage Group was a memorial to commemorate those who served on Fairlop Plain during two World Wars and succeeded in 2013.
After the London Olympics in 2012, he was successful in obtaining funds under Olympic Legacy for a web site on Fairlop Plain Times and for Teachers Education Packs KS1 & KS2.
What People Say
Just back wobbly knees.F/Sgt Harold Bennett, just back from operations
I said I was glad it was Thursday the 13th not Friday 13th – worse thing I ever saidF/O Ken Trott, just before he became a POW.
Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.Dr. Seuss