Walk to Willian village

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Praful Soneji
Walk to Willian village

Few years ago I used to walk down to Willian from my house on a regular basis. In the current lockdown condition, I have been walking to Willian again. Nowadays I have to have a little rest, and so I rested for a while on the bench by the post office. On recommencing the walk, I walked passed the gate to All Saints' Church and a couple signs caught my eye (see photos). Never before I had realised that there was an airfield near Willian!

Praful Soneji
Another sign above the gate.

Another sign above the gate.

Graham Taylor
I believe the actual airfield

I believe the actual airfield was adjacent to the left hand side of the road going up to Great Wymondley, which is where there is a memorial to pilots who lost their lives.

Praful Soneji
Here is a photo of the said

Here is a photo of the said memorial.

Marian Cowdrey
I was the contact for The

I was the contact for The Airfields of Britain Conversation Trust and spoke to the churchwarden of All Saints' Willian to obtain permission for the fixing of the plaque . According to the trust's website the airfield was indeed to the side of Wymondley Road but this cannot be proved, the site also has a photo of Willian Camp in 1912 posted by kind permission of Letchworth Garden City Collection which shows aircraft and servicemen at the camp. There is an interesting piece called Bombing of Willian October 1916 on the Herts at War Website which gives an account of a zeppelin raid on Willian airfield. Mrs Grace Ashby, née Impey (born on the 29th July 1889) wrote of seeing the manoeuvres of the Hertfordshire Yeomanry in Hundred  Acres, "the larger field adjoining Roxley", when she was a child and the White family were in residence in 1898. James Barrington White was appointed Lieutenant of the Hertfordshire Calvalry in 1897. Perhaps Hundred Acres became the airfield? There are several very flat fields in the vicinty of Roxley Court.

Details of the fallen listed on the church lychgate are given on pages 72 and 73 of "All Saints ..... and Sinners, the story of a village church" by Peter Harkness which is on sale in the church when lockdown is over..

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