A Commissioning Scroll dating from the day the Royal Air Force was founded, 1 Apr 1918, spent 60 years in a Wendover attic before being found by Mrs Lesley Holloway of John Colet School.
“I was cleaning out the loft space with my husband Jim and we found the Scroll in a cardboard tube addressed to our house. Thinking it was just old rubbish, Jim was about to burn it, but I said to him that the history department at John Colet School might be interested.”
Senior teachers Andy Date and Anne Cobley recognised the significance of the find and informed Squadron Leader Lee Cobley who sits on the RAF Halton House Heritage Committee. The scroll was restored and framed, and Mr and Mrs Holloway were invited to Halton House Officers’ Mess to present the scroll to Station Commander Group Captain Chris Elliot. The scroll now sits in pride of place in ‘Larkin’s Lobby’, a part of Halton House dedicated to the heritage of the RAF, Halton and the locality. It is full of memorabilia gathered by ex-Halton apprentice and RAF Historian Group Captain Min Larkin CBE.
The Commissioning Scroll belonged to Lieutenant Frederick Aubrey Lane Sear who was born in Thame in 1891 and joined the Oxford & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in the First World War. Researcher Trixie Brabner discovered that in 1917, he attended the Military Biplane Flying School at Ruislip gaining his Royal Flying Corps Aviator’s Certificate on 13 October 1917. With the birth of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918, Frederick Sear was one of the first groups of pilots to be commissioned into the brand new Service. His Commissioning Scroll is dated 1 April 1918 and is signed by King George V and Air Vice-Marshal Sir Sefton Brancker, a pioneer in British military aviation. Frederick Sear died in 1951, so it is likely that the scroll has been in the attic since then. After the war, Frederick Sear became a school teacher, and taught Gp Capt Min Larkin’s wife Barbara, who grew up in Wendover, during the 40s. Barbara recalled “He was very tall and slim, and always wore a flat cap when riding his bicycle to school.”
In appreciation of their historic find Mr and Mrs Holloway were treated to lunch with the Heritage Committee at Halton House and will have a guided tour of the Rothschild Mansion with a member of the Heritage Committee.