Now in its third year of publication, Swindon Heritage magazine continues to delve into the town’s deep and fascinating history, telling the stories of both local and national heroes, writes Frances Bevan.
In advance of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in September the cover of the summer edition of Swindon Heritage is given to another local hero, fighter pilot Squadron Leader Harold Morley Starr. His story is explained over 12 pages in the magazine.
In July 1940 warfare took to the skies as the German Luftwaffe launched an air campaign to destroy the British Royal Air Force and especially its beating heart, Fighter Command.
As the Blitz raged in the skies above British cities, wartime leader Prime Minister Winston Churchill stood up in the House of Commons and delivered some of his best-remembered words: ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.’
Five hundred and forty four pilots were killed defending the nation during this early phase of World War II.
Harold Morley Starr was murdered by Nazi ME109 pilots after baling out of his Hurricane over east Kent, as he floated to earth in his parachute. He died on 31 August 1940, eight days before his 26th birthday and is buried in one of the 103 Commonwealth War Graves at Radnor Street Cemetery, near Swindon town centre. His brother Norman, shot down in 1945 over Dunkirk, and buried in France, is also remembered on his tombstone.
Also included in the summer edition is an update of events in Radnor Street Cemetery where the Community Payback team is getting to grips with brambles and overgrown shrubs to reveal yet more monuments, while volunteers from the Kingshill Area Residents’ Association are adopting neglected graves and keeping the weeds at bay.
Guided walks take place on the second Sunday of the month, meet at the Chapel at 2pm. See details at Facebook
Find out how to purchase your copy of Swindon Heritage magazine, or take out a subscription at www.swindonheritage.com The summer edition is now available. An annual subscription to the quarterly magazine costs £25.96.