St Clement Danes: A tribute to Commonwealth air forces

The RCAF badge inlaid in marble, with other badges.
The RCAF badge, with other Commonwealth air forces’ badges, is inlaid in the marble floor of St Clement Danes on the Strand, the Central Church of the Royal Air Force, in London, England. PHOTO: Dave O’Malley

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Deep in Westminster, one of the most historic sectors of London, England, stands St Clement Danes on the Strand, the Central Church of the Royal Air Force. It has been a place of worship for more than 1,200 years and was named by the Danes in the 9th century after Saint Clement, the patron saint of mariners. It was rebuilt twice in its earlier years, once by William the Conqueror, and was in the care of the Knights Templar for 150 years. By the 17th century, it had become derelict and, even though it survived the Great Fire of London in 1666, was demolished. Christopher Wren, the acclaimed British architect whose great masterpiece was St Paul’s Cathedral, redesigned and rebuilt it in 1682.

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