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Second World War

During the Second World War Petersham was home to the Anti-Aircraft Command School. The Vicarage (now the Old Vicarage), All Saints Church, the Village Institute, and Elm Lodge were all requisitioned. Huts were erected in the Vicarage garden.

This secret institution concentrated on operational research. The scientists recruited to make the calculations sought to analyse the data collected on past enemy action in order to estimate where future attacks were likely. At the centre of their work was the radar set which was linked to anti-aircraft guns.

The School was also known as ‘the wireless school’ or ‘the radio location school’. Shells with time fuses could be aimed to the height at which enemy aircraft had been detected by radio. All Saints Church, which had not been consecrated, could be used as a cover for testing the elevation finding attachments of the guns.


This is a summary of an article in Richmond History 28 by Michael Lee copyright owner. Copies of the Journal are available from Houbens and Open Book at Richmond, price £4.95, or from Len Chave.

St Peter’s Church Graveyard

"To god alone be the praise. In glorious memory of those who fell in the Great War 1914-1919, 1939-1945. Their name liveth for evermore"

Petersham at War

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