On June 5th our regular
monthly meeting was once again well attended by members and guests. A full
programme of events began with the main speaker for the evening, Howard Heeley.
This is the second time that Howard has visited us and on this occasion his
subject was “Stained Glass Aviation Commemoration” Initially, Howard explained how
glass is made by mixing together some form of silica, an alkali, and lime or
lead oxide. The colour is produced by adding a metallic oxide. Stained glass was usually produced to make windows. The light
would shine through eloquently demonstrating a means of
expression that very few means of art are able. It is a form of
painting that began over 1,000 years ago and is still essentially made the same
Our speaker then showed us numerous
slides and examples of this art form that is used to commemorate Aviation today
and the stories attached to each.
missed its target during WW1 whilst searching for the City of Lincoln. The
parish church of St John in Washingborough, Lincolnshire has a Norman tower and
a stained glass window inside the church depicts the zeppelin raid on the
village in 1916.
doubt the most impressive displays of aviation stained glass are installed in
the St George RAF Chapel in Halton Buckinghamshire. The School of
Technical Training at RAF Halton stretches back to 1919 and contains over
100 stained glass panels commemorating each Apprentice entry. These panels
commemorate the many achievements and events in aviation history.
has a tremendous passion for the subject and this became more apparent when he
explained to us, the only true way to appreciate the art of stained glass is to
view the original.
refreshment break our members and guests were able to view a selection of the
many photographs from our extensive archive and also to brows a selection of our
books and magazines.
continued with our audience participation section. This time we discussed the
life and times of a Blidworth man who a few still remember, but perhaps didn’t
know the full story of his experiences as a young man. Mention the name
“Leonard Stafford” to anyone who lived in a colliery house in our village
during the 1940’s & 50’s, and they will tell you that he was the man you
went to see when you needed to report a fault or a repair to your house.
official title was the “Estate Foreman” and as such he was responsible for the
maintenance and upkeep of the 800 properties that the Blidworth miners and
their families occupied at that time. In
1916, Leonard Stafford enlisted in the army at the age of 17years 11months.
Following 12 months training with the South Staffordshire Regiment he became a
Lance Corporal. He was then posted to France where he subsequently took up
position on the front line. On March 21st 1918, during what became
known as the Spring Offensive, which resulted in many casualties and 21,000
British soldiers taken prisoner. Leonard Stafford became a POW on that day and
remained a prisoner until Armistice Day in November. He suffered many hardships
at that time which he recorded in great detail in his notebook. He mentions,
the shortage of food, the long hours of work maintaining roads and railways,
how his fellow prisoners were killed by bombs dropped by British aircraft.
Leonard passed away in 1959 and on the 100th anniversary of his
capture, Leonard’s family presented his wartime notebook to the South
Staffordshire Regiment’s Museum.