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First World War: Hainault Farm pilots remembered at commemoration

PUBLISHED: 14:10 14 April 2015 | UPDATED: 14:19 14 April 2015

Dresden survivor Hans Haenlein, former flight sergeant Max Bean, Fairlop Heritage Group chairman David Martin, deputy mayor Cllr Linda Huggett and her consort, husband Brian. Picture: Ron Jeffries

Dresden survivor Hans Haenlein, former flight sergeant Max Bean, Fairlop Heritage Group chairman David Martin, deputy mayor Cllr Linda Huggett and her consort, husband Brian. Picture: Ron Jeffries

Archant

The pilots who battled to defend London’s streets from the feared German Zeppelins were remembered at a commemorative ceremony.

John Bowers at the Fairlop at War event, holding a Barkingside Royal British Legion flag John Bowers at the Fairlop at War event, holding a Barkingside Royal British Legion flag

The Fairlop Heritage Group hosted Fairlop at War, an event marking the First World War centenary and celebrating the contribution of Hainault Farm aerodrome.

The site’s pilots, from 44 Squadron, encountered the Zeppelins for the first time in 1915.

Guests including Redbridge’s deputy mayor Cllr Linda Huggett gathered on Saturday at Fairlop Waters Country Park, in Forest Road, Barkingside, where a Royal Flying Corps flag was raised and a wreath placed.

Two special guests were Hans Haenlein, a survivor of the bombing of Dresden, Germany, 70 years ago, and former flight sergeant Max Bean, of 115 Squadron Bomber Command.

The replica Royal Flying Corps flag. Picture: Ron Jeffries The replica Royal Flying Corps flag. Picture: Ron Jeffries

Hainault Farm’s First World War commander was Major Arthur Harris, later known as “Bomber Harris”, who led Bomber Command when Dresden was attacked.

Mr Haenlein was presented with a symbol of peace – a Cross of Nails. The original was made after Coventry Cathedral was destroyed during the Second World War.

Fairlop Heritage Group’s chairman David Martin said: “Saturday was a peaceful way to celebrate reconciliation as the end of conflict.”

He added he was grateful to all those involved.

The group plans to host annual commemorations until 2019, the year the aerodrome closed.

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