By Andy Wasley - @andywasley
A precious reminder of London’s ordeal during the Blitz has been returned to a church parish near Victoria.
A heart-shaped piece of stained-glass from Christ Church, Broadway – which was destroyed in 1941 – has been handed to the Reverend Ralph Williamson, the vicar of St Peter’s Church on Eaton Square. The item was handed in by John Hains, who found it amid Blitz rubble in 1953.
It’s a story that recalls London’s wartime ordeal – and how two parishes united amid the destruction.
On the night of 16-17 April 1941, Hitler’s Luftwaffe launched one of the most devastating attacks of the Blitz. The raid reduced 12 of London’s churches to rubble.
The same raid killed the then vicar of St Peter’s: the Reverend Austin Thompson was struck by shrapnel while on fire-watch duty.
During the War many areas of London were utterly destroyed, and some remained undeveloped for years. In 1953 John Hains, who grew up in the area, was crossing Christ Church’s bombsite. Something caught his eye.
Now Mr Hains is in his 80s, and decided it was time to see the stained glass reunited with the parish. After contacting the Diocese of London he was put in touch with Mr Williamson, who travelled to Mr Hains's home in Crawley to receive the precious item.
It will now be put on display in St Peter’s Eaton Square as a lasting reminder of one of London’s darkest chapters, and a tribute to the people who endured it.