Fairford History Society

Fairford History: News

10 February 2016: the famous well-travelled Union Flag

On 10 February FHS hosted a reception for Sarah Schantz, a visitor from the States. It was her grandfather, Wally Glavor who ‘liberated’ the Union Flag during the VE Day celebrations in the Market Place. Wally was a US Army Serviceman from the 186th Military Hospital in Fairford Park, 1944-45.

In 1998 Wally had a fit of remorse and returned the flag via Ralph Wilkins, who lives in Cheltenham, whose cousins Cynthia and Sheila went to America to live in 1948 and were friends of Wally Glavor. The flag was kept first by Fairford Town Council and then in the care of Fairford History Society and has since been framed.

Sarah was able to meet former Town Councillors who were in the original picture that appeared in the newspaper in 1998, members of Fairford History Society, present Councillors and also former US Airman Frank Dailey, the RAF Fairford site director.

Sarah was presented with a copy of ‘Fairford Images’ by June Lewis-Jones, which has had article about Wally Glavor, a 1955 Frith print of Fairford Mill and a baseball cap worn by Wally at one of the 186th Hospital reunions, which had been in the FHS Archive.

Edwin Cuss presented Sarah with a set of photographs of the Military Hospital which he had compiled and she was then taken up to Fairford Park to revisit the site of the former Hospital, which then became the Polish Hostel.

During the week Sarah was taken on a tour of places that her grandfather might have visited and she returned to San Francisco a few days later. 

Sarah being presented with the print and Wally's hat_opt(1)Sarah at the back with original members of the 1998 photograph_opt

Sarah and Jennie Fairford's Mayor Jennie Sanford_opt

June Lewis-Jones 1935-2015

It is with very great sadness that we report the death in August of the President of Fairford History Society, June Lewis-Jones. June was always so supportive of FHS, ready to lend a hand with information and advice.

She worked at Farmor’s School for over 37 years and taught many people in the town to type. She was passionate about the countryside and in her younger days she was a Cotswold Way warden and wrote a book on the Cotswold Way. She also had a great love for the Cotswold Lion breed of sheep, one of whom attended her wedding to Ralph in 1998.

She was so involved with many things in the town, an inveterate raiser of funds for Fairford Hospital and for the Church. The proceeds of her latest publication and first children’s book are for the preservation of the beautiful Church windows.

She wrote 29 books and wrote for Cotswold Life since it started about 1960 and also contributed to the Gloucestershire Echo and Wilts and Glos Standard regularly.

Our condolences go to Ralph, her husband and his family.


‘In War and Peace: Poles Who Came to the West Country’: a new book presented to FHS


‘In War and Peace’  is available from the Anglo-Polish Society, Bristol and the South West. Price £18 with Postage & packing £25



In February FHS was presented with a new book published by the Anglo-Polish Society, Bristol and the South West titled ‘In War and Peace: Poles Who Came to the West Country’. It consists of reminiscences and recollections of Polish exiles who came to this country at the end of World War 2 having been ousted out of their own country. In addition, some of the stories come from Polish children who came to Britain after Poland joined the European Union in 2004.

From the Preface

The contributions range in age from over 90 to about 9 years old. The oldest contributors has served in the Polish Army, Air Force and Navy and had fought as allies alongside the British Armed Forces. Several were soldiers in the Home Army (AK) in Poland who took part in the Warsaw uprising and survived German Concentration camps. Some of the men, women and children who had been deported by Russians to Gulags and forced labour camps in Siberia, the Russian Arctic, Kazakhstan and other parts of the USSR, wrote about their struggles to survive and subsequent lives, including in some cases years in India, South Africa and eventually resettlement camps in the UK….

 Recalling was for some contributors painful but many wrote of happy times, friendship and love they found among the British people………..

 These are stories that if not recorded now would be hidden in the mists of history and Lady Danusia Trotman-Dickenson and the Anglo-Polish Society should be congratulated on their endeavours in getting this work in print.

 The book covers stories from Gloucestershire: Babdown, Daglingworth, Fairford, Northwick Park, Southrop, Spring hill Lodge, Stowell Park and Ullenworth. Wiltshire: Keevil, Charlton Park, East Everleigh, Fargo and Grimsditch Camps, near Salisbury and Ttilshead Down Farm Camp. Somerset: Lulsgate Bottom, Dorset: Haydon Park, Devon Honiton, Ilford Park, Cornwall: St Mawgan.

 There are some stories from Fairford camp’s residents and families some of whom later moved to Swindon. There is also the story of how the Fairford Polish Hostel got its plaque thanks to the efforts of Alicja Światek Christofides – what a memorable event that was and FHS was very pleased to be part of it.

 ‘The book is dedicated to those whose stories will never be told’.




July 18th 2013: FOGA visit to Fairford


On a very hot July day Edwin Cuss and Syd Flatman gave thirteen members of the Friends of Gloucestershire Archives (who braved the heat, the pre-airshow bustle and aircraft noise) a very interesting historical tour of the town. A post visit quote was “Lovely to be shown around an area by locals who know all the hidden gems.” Two of the members who had been on a town walk on a previous occasion had a tour of St Mary’s Church by Geoff Hawkes, they were delighted to be shown round by the expert. All the members then had a tea provided by the Society in the Heritage Room.

FoGA was established in 1993 to provide help and support to the Gloucestershire Archives (then called Gloucestershire Record Office) and to educate people in the importance of preserving the county’s archives. See www.foga.org.uk for more information)

June 22nd 2013: Caldicott’s visit update


Since the Fairford Flyer 17, Tony Malin has emailed to say that Agnes Rose was his grandmother and he is Richards’ great great grandson and now has 7,000 names in his family tree! This is a picture of him and his wife Liz, the family presented them flowers to mark their appreciation for arranging the family reunion. (It just proves the justifiable mistake to his age!)

May 15th 2013: visit to Highnam Church and Highnam Court

We had a very enjoyable joint visit with the Friends of Fairford Church to see first Gambier Parry’s extraordinary church of the Holy Innocents and then on to Highnam Court with its fascinating gardens. We had the good fortune to select a day with improving weather that allowed us by mid-afternoon to sit outside in the sun enjoying afternoon tea. Highnam didn’t have a church of its own until Parry got the consent of the bishop to build from scratch a place that would express the values of the Oxford Movement. It was completed in 1851 within 21 months and Parry himself added the frescos. The church is not regularly opened – it is in an isolated position – so you can’t casually drop in when in the area. However, both the church and the court are usually open on the first Sunday in the month in summer. The church is increasingly used for concerts while the court welcomes organised groups.

TITANIC – a talk by Hugh Brewster

June 14th 2012 at 7.30pm Fairford Community Centre

Hugh Brewster is the author of the recently published book ‘Gilded lives, fatal voyage: the Titanic’s First-Class Passengers and Their World’ and will specifically mention Fairford’s connection with the ship, the Countess of Rothes. Canadian, Hugh will have come straight from the Broadway Festival where is giving a lecture on Francis Millet, the artist who died on the Titanic.

Tickets Price £5 (Members £3). Books will be available for sale and signing.

For further details please contact Alison Hobson 01285 711768 email: enquiry@fairfordhistory.org.uk.