LEONARD Cheshire was not only the founder of the Le Court Cheshire Home, in Greatham, for disabled and chronically sick people but, awarded the Victoria Cross, he was also one of the RAF’s most decorated Second World War pilots.
By the time he founded the home - which was to grow into the worldwide Leonard Cheshire charity it is today - Cheshire was already well known on the global stage for having been Prime Minister Clement Attlee’s official witness to the August 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki which ended the war.
He was only 27, and had been just 22 when, fresh out of Oxford University, he had qualified as a bomber pilot.
In this 100th year of the Royal Air Force - founded in 1918, the year after Cheshire was born - Cheshire stands out - with the likes of the Dambusters’ Guy Gibson and Ralph Cochrane - as one of the war’s greatest pilots.
Indeed, following in the footsteps of Gibson and working with Cochrane, he commanded the legendary 617 ‘Dambusters’ Squadron for eight months, personally leading every bombing raid.
For full story, see this week’s Bordon Herald.