30th August 2016
Blue Plaques to honour Harold and Norman Starr
Blue Plaques to honour Swindon’s brave WWII Fighter Pilots to be unveiled
When: 3pm on Thursday 8th September 2016.
Where: Savoy Pub, 38-40 Regent Street, Swindon, SN1 1JL
I’m so happy to be able to put this post out. I share a birthday with Harold Starr! On Thursday the 8th of September I’ll be 60 years old. And it’s thanks to Harold and his ilk that I’m here to celebrate that milestone.
So when I raise a glass to toast my birthday I’ll raise one to toast Harold and his brother too. Starrs in every sense of the word!
‘Two of Swindon’s bravest sons will be honoured on Thursday 8th Sept 2016 when the Swindon Heritage Team www.swindonheritage.com unveils not one but two commemorative blue plaques in the heart of the town.
Brothers Harold Starr and Norman ‘John’ Starr were born in the Central Hotel, Regent Street, Swindon. The hotel was replaced with a cinema in the 1930s and today the Art Deco building houses the popular Weatherspoon’s pub, The Savoy.
As soon as www.jdwetherspoon.com were approached about the idea of having blue plaques on The Savoy they immediately said yes and have been assisting with logistics ever since.
Squadron Leader Harold Starr (1914 – 1940) was born and raised in Swindon. He bailed out of his burning Hurricane during the Battle of Britain in 1940 but was gunned to death by a Messerschmitt as he floated down to earth in his parachute. His wife was carrying their unborn child. He is buried in Radnor St Cemetery in Swindon in a Commonwealth War Grave. He was 25 years old.
Here’s a young and handsome Harold on his wedding day:
Wing Commander Norman John Starr DFC and BAR (1917 – 1945) was born and raised in Swindon. He was shot down and killed whilst piloting an Avro Anson over Dunkirk in 1945. He was flying back to England to get married to his sweetheart the following day. He never made it back. He is buried along with his three crew members in Dunkirk Town Cemetery in a Commonwealth War Grave. He was 27 years old.
As featured in the Swindon Heritage Magazine, these will be the second and third of our ongoing Blue Plaque scheme. Our first plaque unveiled was earlier this year in North Street, Old Town and is dedicated to Swindon born suffragette, Edith New.
Funding for our heroic pilots’ plaques was made possible by donations from the public and Starr family members via:
- The www.swindonheritage.com Magazine is a quarterly publication. £4.99 per edition.
- Plaques will be installed by Chris Garrett. He also fitted the Edith New plaque.
- Unveiling the plaques will be by the pilots’ nephew, 93 year old retired Squadron Leader Peter Starr Mills and Great Niece Sue Giles.
- Location: Savoy Pub, 38-40 Regent Street, Swindon, SN1 1JL
- Date & Time: Thursday 8th September 2016 at 3pm.
- Contact: Noel Beauchamp firstname.lastname@example.org 07980720593
Read more about Harold Starr here: https://swindonian.me/2015/07/11/harold-starr-one-of-the-few/
Read the Swindon Link magazine article about the Spitfire sculpture proposed for the Orbital Centre in Swindon: http://swindonlink.com/2016/08/spitfire-sculpture-at-orbital-shopping-park-to-celebrate-swindon-aviation-heritage/
About the English Heritage blu plaque scheme: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/blue-plaques/about-blue-plaques/