Derbyshire War Memorials
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Memorial Title

Battle of Britain - Rolls-Royce Window

Summary

Derbyshire War Memorials: a description of a WW2 war memorial window commemorating the Battle of Britain at the former Rolls-Royce aero engine works, Osmaston, Derby.
Images
No images are available.
Locations
Last known location:
Rolls-Royce Learning and
 Development Centre
Wilmore Rd
Sinfin
Derby
Nearest postcode:
DE24 9BD

NGR:
SK 36373 31880
(From online digital mapping.)
(Map opens in new window.)
Location details:
The centre is at the eastern end of Wilmore Rd, near the junction with Victory Rd. It is not open to the public.

Previous location:
Rolls-Royce store.
Nearest postcode:


NGR:
Location details:
The temporary storage location is not known.

Previous location:
Rolls-Royce Offices.
 (Redundant)
Nightingale Rd
Osmaston-by-Derby
Nearest postcode:
DE24 8BF

NGR:
SK 36392 33566
(From online digital mapping.)
(Map opens in new window.)
Location details:
Osmaston, now a suburb of Derby, was historically known as Osmaston-by-Derby.
The window was in the north wall of the main foyer of the building, part-way up the stairs to the first floor, but was removed when the premises were vacated. Subsequently, the offices were refurbished and used for business and community purposes, and a replica window was installed to replace the original one.
Type
Overall type: Window.

Overall condition: Good.

Description:

A stained glass window with a figure at the centre and an inscription at the foot.
The broad window is inserted in a rounded-arch opening and is in multiple colours. At the head is a brilliand sun, its rays reaching almost to the edge of the window. At the centre is a young RAF fighter pilot dressed in a blue overall, wearing a shirt and tie, mae-west lifebelt, and flying boots. In his left hand is his flying helmet and mask, and behind him is a golden eagle with wings outstretched and head and talons thrust forward, all framed by the sun. The airman is standing on the spinner of an airscrew, its three blades dominating the lower part of the window. Below and behind it, stretched out in long lines, are the buildings of the Derby Rolls-Royce aero engine factory, now demolished. Three lines of inscription span the foot of the window, in upright capital roman lettering.
Subsequent to its removal from the redundant offices, the window was mounted in a backlit frame at the training centre and accompanied by an oblong plaque bearing an inscription in upright capital lettering.

Glossary
Components:

Component Material Height Width Depth Condition
Window Stained glass c4630 2615 - Good
Plaque Not known - - - Unknown
Dimensions in millimetres ±5mm unless stated otherwise.
Inscription
Foot of window:
THIS WINDOW COMMEMORATES THE PILOTS OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE
WHO IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN TURNED THE WORK OF OUR HANDS
INTO THE SALVATION OF OUR COUNTRY
Plaque:
Rolls-Royce
THIS WINDOW WAS REDEDICATED ON 31ST OCTOBER 2015 BY
THE VERY REVEREND DR JOHN DAVIES, DEAN OF DERBY,
IN COMMEMORATION OF THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY
OF THE END OF THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN.

Conflicts and people named:
Conflict Second World War
(1939-1945)
Totals
Action Battle of Britain
(15 Aug - 31 Oct 1940)
Number died 0 0
Number served and returned 0 0
Total names 0 0
Administration
Custodian: Presumed to be Rolls-Royce plc.

Local authorities:
From WW2: Derby County Borough Council (Derby Corporation)
From 1974: Derby District (later Borough and from 1977 City) Council and Derbyshire County Council.
From 1997: The unitary authority has been Derby City Council.
History
15th August - 31st October, 1940 The Battle of Britain, fought over southern England and the English Channel, was a turning point in the war because, by denying air supremacy to the Luftwaffe, the German invasion of Britain was postponed, and the opportunity never arose again. The battle was fought by British fighter aircraft, most of which had Merlin engines made in this factory at Derby.

c1948: The memorial was commissioned by Ernest Walter Hives, managing director of Rolls-Royce Ltd, later The Lord Hives, CH MBE, chairman of the company.

c1948: The window was designed by Hugh Easton, stained glass artist; painted by Robert Hendra and Geoffrey Harper, glass painters; and the glass cut by T G Harris. It cost £3145-10s-0d

11th January, 1949: The memorial was unveiled by MRAF Arthur Tedder, The Lord Tedder, GCB, and dedicated by the Bishop of Derby, The Rt Rev Dr A E J Rawlinson.

January, 1949: It was estimated that 50,000 members of the public had filed through the offices in order to view the window during open days on successive Sundays during the month.

Summer 2005: Children from St Andrew's Special School and year 5 and 6 children from Nightingale Junior School, and their respective helpers, constructed traditional temporary derbyshire well dressings made from flowers and other vegetation pressed into clay within a wooden frame and featuring the Rolls-Royce window. The dressings were displayed in Derby Cathedral and subsequently dismantled.

2007: The Osmaston factory closed, the window was removed and put into storage.

September, 1996: It was reported that the window had been rededicated.

c2015: The window was erected at the training centre by Harry Burrows Fabrications who refurbished the existing metal framework and provided a new structural support frame. Backlighting was installed by Thorlux Lighting using 5184 individual LEDs.

31st October, 2015:  The window was rededicated by The Very Rev Dr John Davies BA MA MPhil PhD, Dean of Derby.

c2016: A replica of the window was commissioned by Rolls-Royce and installed in the original opening in the refurbished offices, now renamed The Marble Hall.

August, 2017: The memorial was researched by Roy Branson.
References
Flight journal; 20th January, 1949; p66: An acount of the original unveiling, with photographs.

Light Perpetual: Aviators' Memorial Windows; David Beaty; 1995; ISBN 10: 1853105880, ISBN 13: 9781853105883; Airlife Publishing; pp31-32: The book also features a photograph of the Derby window on the front cover.

Wings Magazine; Oct-Dec 1996; p30.

Derby Telegraph; 16th September, 1997; p13: a news item.

A Century of Remembrance: One Hundred Outstanding British War Memorials: Derek Boorman; 2005; ISBN 9781844153169; Pen & Sword Books Ltd; pp123 & 190-191: describes the window and refers to the then imminent closure of the factory.

Derby Telegraph; 13th July, 2009; p24.

Something Quite Exceptional: Hugh Easton and the Battle of Britain Memorial Window for Rolls-Royce; Adam Goodyear for the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust; 2010; ISBN 13: 978 1 872922 46-1, Ian Allen Publishing: the book describes the national memorial window at Westminster Abbey but focuses on the Derby window and describes the contribution of the people who provided the aircraft engines.

Derby Telegraph; 17th December, 2010; p19: an article, including history and photographs, regarding a new book on the window.

Derby Telegraph; 4th July, 2011; p12: a photograph accompanying a reader's letter regarding the possible future location of the window.

The Battle of Britain, 1945-1965: The Air Ministry and the Few; Garry Campion; 2015; ISBN-10: 023028454X, ISBN-13: 978-0230284548AIAA; pp29-30: a description of the memorial and the original unveiling ceremony.

Derby Telegraph; 2nd November, 2015; p5: a report on the rededication ceremony, with photogtraphs.

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