17th Oct 2019
Today, leaving from Castle Meadow, my Mother and I boarded an Eastons Coach, which made a stop at Harford Park and Ride where two more of our group joined us. Another member was already on the Coach having boarded at Stratton Strawless. We stopped off at Birchanger Services for a short break and, as we had plenty of time, the coach driver decided to take us via Stratford to see some of the sights instead of the M25 and the Dartford Crossing. Being a Londoner, he knew the area well.
At Leaves Green in the Borough of Bromley we stopped at The Kings Arms for a pre-booked tasty meal and drink. This pub was built c.1700 with extensions and porch added in the 19th Century. It was used by crew members during World War II. In 1949 a Spitfire crash landed and demolished part of the pub. This is just north of the London Biggin Hill Airport and a ten minute drive from the Memorial Museum.
Arriving just outside the gates we saw a fibreglass Spitfire I and Hurricane I, before being welcomed to the Museum and given a guidebook each. The guide showed us around the various exhibits and told us the stories behind them, during the Battle of Britain. We then went into St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance, which had a wood floor made from the wooden parts of Spitfires. It also had kneelers with needlework showing Spitfires, stitched by local women, and 12 stained glass windows. At the altar were lists of all the various Squadrons, showing the names of pilots who had died at Biggin Hill. On each side of the altar were flags of all the allied countries involved in World War II.
In a smaller part of the chapel there was a section relating to Ground Crew and London Taxi drivers on VE Day, with a steering wheel. We then had around an hour and a half to explore on our own.
By Andrew Elphick
Click this Link for more information! Biggin Hill Memorial Museum