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LONDON, ST CLEMENT DANES CHURCH - ROYAL AIR FORCE CHURCH

The church and the RAF

At the end of World War 2 the suggestion was put to the Diocese of London that the Royal Air Force be allowed to restore and rebuild a church as its own. This became a reality when St Clement Danes, destroyed by the German bombing of London, was given into the care of the Royal Air Force. An appeal was launched that attracted support not only from the R.A.F. but from her sister air forces throughout the world. The architect appointed, Anthony Lloyd, followed Wren's design closely and in 1958 St Clement Danes was re-Consecrated as the Central Church of the Royal Air Force.

The church's role is simple, to be a place of regular worship and to be a living memorial to those who died whilst serving in the Royal Air Force. St CFlement Danes continues to fulfil this role to the present day.

The Books of Remembrance

In glass cases around the walls of the church are Books of Remembrance to over 150,000 men and women who died while serving in the Royal Air Force.

Volume I 1915 - September 1939
Volume II-IX September 1939 - August 1945
Volume X August 1945 to present

History of the church

Danish settlers who married English wives were allowed to settle in the area, taking over a small church dedicated to St Clements. The church became known as 'St. Clement-of-the-Danes'. Although the Great Fire of London (1666) did not reach the church it stood out due to its poor condition and, after several rebuilds, the present structure was rebuilt under the design and direction of Sir Christopher Wren. The tower was added by James Gibb in 1719. On 10 May 1941 during the last, and perhaps one of the heaviest, air raids of the Blitz St. Clement Danes was badly damaged when it received a direct hit from an incendary bomb. Only the outer walls, tower and steeple survived the bombing. The church lay abandoned for over a decade before being claimed by the Royal Air Force in 1958.

See also Royal Air Force Museum - The Central Church of the Royal Air Force and Royal Air Force - St Clement the Danes

Last updated 15 September, 2018

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