It was a pleasure to attend Sanders Draper School in Hornchurch on Thursday for the presentation of an aircraft propeller to the school. This might sound a little odd, except for the fact that the propeller came from a light plane which flew from RAF Hornchurch and the school itself derives its name from a spitfire pilot who flew from the airfield during the Second World War.
In March 1943 F/O Sanders Draper guided his stricken aircraft away from the buildings of the old Suttons School to prevent any children from being hurt or killed when his plane crashed. Sanders Draper paid with his life and is buried in the cemetery in the grounds of St Andrew's Church, Hornchurch.
The propeller was donated by the Essex branch of the RAF Aircrew Association and will now sit in the main entrance to the school as a reminder of the sacrifice of F/O Draper and all those who serve in our armed forces. I cannot think of a more fitting place for this piece of aviation history to have been provided with a permanent home.