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229 Squadron RAF Crest in St Clement Danes Church

posted 15 Dec 2011, 13:35 by 229 Staff   [ updated 15 Dec 2011, 13:44 ]
For those unaware of the RAF's church in central London, it is called St Clement Danes and is the Central Church of the Royal Air Force.

A 229 Sqn staff member visited the church today, taking a photo of our Sqn Badge (see below), and thought this would be of interest to cadets – particularly if we are to attend the annual parade held there in 2012.

St Clement Danes is a living church prayed in daily and visited throughout the year by thousands seeking solace and reflection. The original building, designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1682 was badly damaged by enemy action in 1941.

It was rebuilt by the Royal Air Force in 1958 to become its spiritual heart. The church is open daily from 0900 to 1600hrs except Bank Holidays and is well worth a visit. 

It is situated outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand.
 The church is sometimes claimed to be the one featured in the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons and the bells do indeed play that tune.

For the ATC it is most memorable for the annual parade on 'ATC Sunday' which enables cadets to march through central London (with no traffic to stop them!) and finish up at the church in the Aldwych. ATC Sunday has always been held on the Sunday in February nearest to the date on which 
the ATC was founded. The ATC Sunday parade is a great opportunity to “show off the ATC” – it is after all the only parade in which the ATC is the lead organisation. It is the Sunday in which cadets are asked to re-consider the promise they made at their enrolment; often to re-new that promise, but also to think about the values of the corps. Each Squadron is asked to supply a handful of cadets usually every two years to participate in the parade. If you have the opportunity, make sure you take it. It is a great honour and an unforgettable experience.

Outside the church stand statues of two of the RAF's wartime leaders, Arthur "Bomber" Harris and Hugh Dowding.

The erection of the statue of Harris was controversial due to his responsibility for the bombing of Dresden and other bombing campaigns against German cities. Despite protests from Germany as well as some in Britain, the Bomber Harris Trust (an RAF veterans' organisation) erected a statue of him outside the RAF Church of St. Clement Danes in 1992. It was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother who looked surprised when she was jeered by protesters. The line on the statue reads "The Nation owes them all an immense debt". The statue had to be guarded by policemen day and night for some time as it was frequently sprayed with graffiti.

229 Squadron Badge inscription in Welsh slate

The floor of the church, of Welsh slate, is inscribed with the badges of over 800 RAF commands, groups, stations, squadrons and other formations. Near the entrance door is a ring of the badges of Commonwealth air forces, surrounding the badge of the RAF.

A memorial to the Polish airmen and squadrons who fought in the defence of the United Kingdom and the liberation of Europe in World War II is positioned

on the floor of the north aisle.

Books of Remembrance listing the names of all the RAF personnel who have died in service, as well as those American airmen based in the United Kingdom who died during World War Two.

Near the altar are plaques listing the names of RAF and RFC personnel awarded the Victoria Cross and the George Cross.

The 229 Squadron RAF Badge is pictured alongside (right). You can find the Squadron Badge on the right-hand side of the central aisle towards the front (see above picture of church interior).