Leonard Cheshire
Recipient of the Victoria Cross
Leonard Cheshire
Group Captain Geoffrey Leonard Cheshire, Baron Cheshire, VC, OM, DSO and Two Bars, DFC was a highly decorated British RAF pilot during the Second World War. Among the honours he received as a bomber pilot is the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Biography
Leonard Cheshire's personal information overview.
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Dorchester Stompers cover 175 miles for charity - Dorset Echo
Google News - over 5 years
All members of the dedicated team, who work at Dorchester Police Station apart from one member who works for Leonard Cheshire Disability, said they were pleased to be able to present the local charity with the cheque. Stomper Tony Freudenfeld, 63,
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Leonard Cheshire home in East Carleton celebrates 50 years - Norfolk Eastern Daily Press
Google News - over 5 years
Before the Leonard Cheshire Disability home opened its doors in September 1961 in the rural village of East Carleton, near Wymondham, many disabled people were housed in geriatric hospital wards or placed in mental health institutions
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Leonard Cheshire Disability - Third Sector
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Working on Welfare to Work employment contracts, this post will deliver direct support to a caseload of jobseekers, some of whom are furthest from the employment market to ensure they are both job ready, are placed in suitable employment and sustain
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Tell campaigner your experience - Basingstoke Gazette
Google News - over 5 years
I was recently asked by charities Leonard Cheshire Disability and Mencap to chair an independent review into how the personal mobility needs of people living in state-funded residential care are met. As a life-long campaigner for the rights of blind
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South Normanton firm's fun day success - Mansfield Chad
Google News - over 5 years
Up to £2312 was presented to Leonard Cheshire Disability following the event, which was part of Alliance Healthcare's Disability Awareness Month campaign. Michael Fowler, Alliance Healthcare South Normanton manager, said: “A DJ, bouncy castle and face
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Friends team up to join in Energy for Life fun run - NW Evening Mail
Google News - over 5 years
Youth worker Les McLeese, who works with the Leonard Cheshire in Burlington House, Barrow, said the team wanted to raise money for the organisation's Monday evening youth club for people with Aspergers and autism.Donations from each entry fee will also
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Kids with disabilities don’t need no special education - Daily News & Analysis
Google News - over 5 years
Rajendra KR, regional representative of Leonard Cheshire Disability International South Asia Regional Office (based in Bangalore) argues that most parents, teachers and education departmental heads are not even very aware of the Act and its provisions
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Banks warns over disability support changes - Perthshire Advertiser
Google News - over 5 years
Ochil and South Perthshire MP Gordon Banks slammed the Minister for Disabled People Maria Miller for refusingrecently to agree to participate in the Low Review organised by charities including Mencap and Leonard Cheshire Disability, which looked at
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Royal visit marks official opening of Sandbach's £2m Leonard Cheshire care home - Crewe Chronicle
Google News - over 5 years
The duchess was greeted by scores of flag-waving staff and residents at the Leonard Cheshire residential home at The Hill. The occasion was planned to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the site's original care home which opened in 1961
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Health chief steps down with blistering broadside against Lansley - Politics.co.uk
Google News - over 5 years
The charity Leonard Cheshire Disability will lead the delivery of a new project which has been awarded grant funding from the Department of Health's Innovation, Excellence and Service Development Fund. The project will enhance the influence of third
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Accessibility Law impacts on lives of PWDs, but needs improvement - Philippine Information Agency
Google News - over 5 years
Richard Arceño, National Coordinator of the Leonard Cheshire of Rehabilitation Medicine shared that PWDs have ceased to avoid going to the malls because they now offer facilities that give them comfort and address their particular needs
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Traithlete star backing Crystal Palace race - News Shopper
Google News - over 5 years
WORLD champion paratriathlete Jane Egan is urging people to sign up for Tri Together at Crystal Palace, a new triathlon event run by the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability. Tri Together takes place on September 11 at the Crystal Palace National Sports
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Care assistants are ready to take a leap of faith for Leonard Cheshire - Burton Mail
Google News - over 5 years
Zoe Milburn, 50, and Berny Chadwick, 46, will be taking part in the adrenaline-pumping challenge to raise money for Newlands House, a Leonard Cheshire Disability Home based in Netherseal, where they both work. The carers, who call themselves the Barmy
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Volunteers tidy up Honresfeld gardens - Rochdale Online
Google News - over 5 years
Leonard Cheshire Disability's Honresfeld in Littleborough has been given a garden makeover thanks to volunteers from Grant Thornton's Accountants. The volunteers spent a day working to clear up the pathways to allow for easier access for service users
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Fancy trying a triathlon? - Shields Gazette (press release)
Google News - over 5 years
I AM writing to let you know about Tri Together, a triathlon event launched by Leonard Cheshire Disability. As triathlon becomes one of the fastest growing sports in the UK, the charity has decided to run an event that is accessible to everyone
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Leonard Cheshire
    TWENTIES
  • 1992
    Cheshire died of motor neurone disease aged 74 on 31 July 1992.
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  • OTHER
  • 1959
    On 5 April 1959, in Bombay's Roman Catholic Cathedral, he married Sue Ryder, also a Roman Catholic convert and humanitarian.
    More Details Hide Details He and Baroness Ryder were one of the few couples to both hold titles in their own right. They had two children, Jeromy and Elizabeth Cheshire, and lived in Cavendish, Suffolk. Cheshire was a lifelong tennis fan, a member of The All England Club, and a formidable amateur player well into his seventies.
  • 1953
    In 1953, Cheshire founded the Raphael Pilgrimage to enable sick and disabled people to travel to Lourdes.
    More Details Hide Details In 1990, Cheshire founded the UK charity the Memorial Fund for Disaster Relief. Cheshire is acknowledged on the album The Wall – Live in Berlin by former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters. The concert launched and benefited the charity. Cheshire opened this concert by blowing a Second World War whistle. Cheshire was also concerned about future remembrance and was influential in the concept of the National Memorial Arboretum, founded by David Childs. The amphitheatre at the Arboretum is dedicated to the memory of Leonard Cheshire. In 1985, Cheshire featured in a documentary, Nagasaki – Return Journey.
  • 1948
    In 1948, Cheshire founded the charity now named Leonard Cheshire Disability, which provides support to disabled people throughout the world.
    More Details Hide Details At the beginning of 1949, eight patients were staying at Le Court. Six months later, there were 28. Cheshire dedicated the rest of his life to supporting disabled people, combining this with lecturing on conflict resolution. Other organisations set up by Leonard Cheshire are:
    On Christmas Eve, 1948, Cheshire was received into the Catholic Church.
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    At the beginning of 1948, Cheshire heard about the case of Arthur Dykes, who had been one of Cheshire's original "VIP" community at Le Court, and was suffering from cancer.
    More Details Hide Details Dykes asked Cheshire to give him some land to park a caravan until he recovered, but Cheshire discovered that Dykes was terminally ill and that this diagnosis was concealed from him. He told Dykes the real position and invited him to stay at Le Court. Cheshire learned nursing skills and was soon approached to take in a second patient, the 94-year-old bedridden wife of a man who had just been taken off to hospital after suffering a stroke. She was followed by others, some coming to stay and others to help. Although Le Court had no financial support, and his situation was financially perilous most of the time, money somehow always seemed to arrive in the nick of time to stave off disaster. Dykes died in August 1948. After completing the arrangements for his funeral, Cheshire idly picked up a book a friend had sent him. It was One Lord, One Faith by Vernon Johnson, a former High Anglican clergyman who, against every cherished instinct and prejudice, had converted to Roman Catholicism because, as he put it, "I could not resist the claim of the Catholic Church to be the one true Church founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ to guard and teach the truth... She alone possesses the authority and unity necessary for such a Divine vocation." In the meantime, Joan Botting had converted to Jehovah's Witnesses.
  • 1946
    After the war, Joan Botting (widow of Dambusters pilot Norman Botting) lived with Cheshire at the "VIP (for Vade in Pacem – Go in Peace) Colony" he established for veterans and war widows at Gumley Hall, Leicestershire – one of several new ventures he started after leaving the RAF in 1946.
    More Details Hide Details Joan followed him to Le Court, near Petersfield, Hampshire (a mansion which Cheshire had bought from his aunt) where, with three children of her own, Joan took charge of the nursery (Joan is not mentioned by name in The Face of Victory). Cheshire and Joan Botting subsequently investigated many religions, from Seventh-day Adventist to Methodist to "High Anglo-Catholic" – but none of them provided the answers they were looking for. Cheshire's aim in establishing the VIP Colony was to provide an opportunity for ex-servicemen and women and their families to live together, each contributing to the community what they could, to help their transition back into civilian life. He hoped that training, prosperity and fulfilment would result from united effort and mutual support. He saw the community as one way of continuing to work towards world peace. The community, however, did not prosper and the project came to an end in 1947.
  • 1945
    In 1945, in the Vanity Fair club in Mayfair, he joined a conversation about religion. "It was absurd," he said, "to imagine that God existed, except as a convenient figure of speech.
    More Details Hide Details Man had invented God to explain the voice of conscience, but it was doubtful whether right or wrong existed outside the human mind. They were words affixed like labels to customs and laws which man had also invented to keep social order." To Cheshire's surprise, as he sat back, "pleased with his worldly wisdom," he was roundly rebuked for "talking such rot" by a woman friend who "was one of the last persons on earth he would have credited with" religious convictions.
  • 1944
    Cheshire was nearing the end of his fourth tour of duty in July 1944, having completed a total of 102 missions, when he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
    More Details Hide Details His citation remarked on the entirety of his operation career, noting: Cheshire displayed the courage and determination of an exceptional leader.
    It also gave special mention to a raid against Munich on 24/25 April 1944, in which he had marked a target while flying a Mosquito at low level against "withering fire".
    More Details Hide Details When Cheshire went to Buckingham Palace to receive his VC from King George VI, he was accompanied by Norman Jackson who was also due to receive his award on that day. Cheshire insisted that despite the difference in rank (group captain and warrant officer), they should approach the King together. Jackson remembers that Cheshire said to the King, "This chap stuck his neck out more than I did – he should get his VC first!" The King had to keep to protocol, but Jackson commented he would "never forget what Cheshire said." One of Cheshire's missions was to use new 5,400 kilograms (12,000 lb) "Tallboy" deep-penetration bombs to destroy V3 long-range cannons located in underground bunkers near Mimoyecques in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France. These were powerful guns able to fire a 500 lb shell into London every minute. They were protected by a concrete layer. The raid was planned so the bombs hit the ground next to the concrete to destroy the guns from underneath. Although considered successful at the time, later evaluations confirmed that the raids were largely ineffectual.
  • 1943
    In March 1943, by now an acting group captain, Cheshire became station commander of RAF Marston Moor as the youngest group captain in the RAF, although the job was never to his liking, and he pushed for a return to an operational command.
    More Details Hide Details In April, he was awarded a bar to his DSO. His efforts paid off with a posting as commander of the legendary 617 "Dambusters" Squadron in September. On 30 September, he was promoted to war substantive wing commander. While with 617, Cheshire helped pioneer a new method of marking enemy targets for Bomber Command's 5 Group, flying in at a very low level in the face of strong defences, using first, the versatile de Havilland Mosquito, then a North American Mustang fighter. On the morning before a planned raid by 617 Squadron to Siracourt, a crated Mustang turned up at Woodhall Spa, a gift for Cheshire from his admirers in the US 8th Air Force. Cheshire had the aircraft assembled and the engine tested as he was determined to test the possibilities of the fighter as a marker aircraft. He took off, in what was his first flight in the aircraft, and caught up with 617's Lancasters before they reached the target. Cheshire then proceeded to accurately mark the target (a V-1 storage depot) for the heavies which landed three Tallboys on it. He then flew back and landed the Mustang in the dark.
    In 1943, Cheshire published an account of his first tour of operations in his book, Bomber Pilot which tells of his posting to RAF Driffield and the story of flying his badly damaged bomber ("N for Nuts") back to base.
    More Details Hide Details In the book, Cheshire fails to mention being awarded the DSO for this, but does describe the bravery of a badly burnt member of his crew.
  • 1942
    He was posted to No. 35 Squadron with the brand new Handley Page Halifax and completed his second tour early in 1942, by then a temporary squadron leader. Cheshire was promoted to the substantive rank of squadron leader on 1 March. August 1942 saw a return to operations as an acting wing commander and commanding officer of No. 76 Squadron RAF.
    More Details Hide Details The squadron had recently suffered high losses operating the Halifax, and Cheshire immediately tackled the low morale of the unit by ordering an improvement in the performance of the squadron aircraft by removing the mid-upper and nose gun turrets along with exhaust covers and other weighty non-essential equipment. This allowed the bombers to fly higher and faster. Losses soon fell and morale rose accordingly. Cheshire was amongst the first to note there was very low return rate of Halifax bombers on three engines; furthermore, there were reports the Halifax was unstable in a "corkscrew" which was the manoeuvre used by bomber pilots to escape night fighters. The test pilot Captain Eric Brown, flying uncrewed except for an accompanying flight engineer, undertook risky tests to establish the cause and were told a representative of Bomber Command would fly with them. Brown remembers "We couldn't believe it, it was Cheshire! We were astonished to say the least. I asked him not to touch (the controls) and to his ever lasting credit he never commented at all, he just sat in the second pilot's seat and raised his eye brows at what we were doing!" The fault was in the Halifax's rudder design and Cheshire became enraged when Handley Page at first declined to make modifications so as not to disrupt production.
  • 1941
    On 15 July 1941, Cheshire married the American actress Constance Binney (21 years his senior), but the marriage was short-lived and childless. Their divorce was ratified in January 1951.
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    He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in March 1941 and was promoted to the war substantive rank of flight lieutenant on 7 April.
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    In January 1941, Cheshire completed his tour of operations, but then volunteered immediately for a second tour.
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  • 1940
    In November 1940, Cheshire was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for flying his badly damaged bomber back to base.
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    Promoted to flying officer on 7 April 1940, he was posted that June to 102 Squadron, flying Armstrong Whitworth Whitley medium bombers, from RAF Driffield.
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  • 1939
    Following the outbreak of war, Cheshire joined the RAF on 7 October 1939 with a permanent commission.
    More Details Hide Details He was sent for training at RAF Hullavington (now Hullavington Airfield).
  • 1937
    During his university years, Cheshire learned basic piloting skills with the Oxford University Air Squadron, receiving a commission as a pilot officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on 16 November 1937.
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  • 1936
    He went to stay in Germany in 1936 with the family of Ludwig von Reuter in Potsdam and whilst there, witnessed an Adolf Hitler rally.
    More Details Hide Details Cheshire caused considerable offence by pointedly refusing to give the Nazi salute. Cheshire graduated in jurisprudence in 1939.
  • 1917
    Born on September 7, 1917.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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