When visiting Lord’s, the Home of Cricket, one of the many famous sights for cricket fans is the Father Time weather vane. Its appearance – Father Time, complete with a Grim Reaper-esque scythe, removing the bails in the manner of an umpire at the close of play – seems oddly morbid, until one reads the Law of Cricket that it is inspired by: “After the call of Time, the bails shall be removed from both wickets.” Over the years, Father Time has had a few adventures, falling foul of the weather on more than one occasion and most notably, being the only casualty at Lord’s during the Second World War.
Many people walking past the wall of St Bartholomew’s Hospital on West Smithfield, close to the memorial to William Wallace, stop to look at a series of craters and marks on the wall that look as though they were caused by an explosion of some sort. These scars are from a devastating V2 rocket attack on the area during the Second World War, but this wasn’t the first aerial attack to bring death and destruction to this part of London. Bartholomew Close, not far from the scarred walls, was hit during one of the very first air raids on London, a terrifying Zeppelin raid in 1915.
Brompton Cemetery is particularly rich in grand memorials. In the centre of the cemetery, amongst the dark Victorian crosses and angels, stands a paler, more modern memorial. The face of a young man stares out from an impressive, well cared for headstone. Beneath the inscription is a dramatic image of a Zeppelin – one of the monstrous German airships of the First World War – falling to the ground in flames while a comparatively tiny aircraft flies to safety. The headstone, which occupies a prominent spot in the cemetery, commemorates the bravery of one of the British Armed Forces’ first heroes of aviation – Flight Sub-Lieutenant Reginald Alexander John Warneford. Continue reading