Before we pay our respects to Flying Officer Raimund Sanders Draper (see our next post), we’ll be visiting the school after whom he is named.
The school has a unique and fascinating history. On Wednesday 24th March 1943 at 10.40am, a Spitfire of No. 64 Squadron piloted by an American volunteer serving with the R.A.F., Flying Officer Raimund Sanders Draper, developed engine trouble shortly after take-off. What happened will never be known for sure but those present believe that he intended passing to the left of the school in an attempt to land on the open ground beyond. Realising that with reduced power he could possibly hit the school, he deliberately put the nose of the Spitfire down in the playing field, whereupon it bounced up onto the gravel drive and came to rest against the wall and windows of the two end classrooms. The noise was tremendous but mercifully the high-octane fuel did not ignite and only one boy, Dick Barton aged 13, was injured. An R.A.F. crash tender smashed its way clean through the wooden boundary fence but unfortunately Sanders Draper was dead in his cockpit.
The boys were assembled in the School Hall by Mr. Ward, the Deputy Headmaster, where he told them the sad news. After the dinner break, schooling resumed as normal.
In 1973 the school, formerly known as Suttons Modern Secondary School, changed its name to Sanders Draper School, to commemorate the bravery of Raimund and his sacrifice.
In 2020 the school committed to returning to the Sanders Draper name after being known as Sanders school since 2004, and it was also at this point that the headteacher, Mr S Brooks, decided to introduce a house system.
From September 2021 they will be introducing 5 ‘Houses’ across the school. Each student at Sanders will be a member of a ‘House’, a team and community within Sanders. The aim is to further recognise the teamwork, hard work and efforts of the many incredible local heroes by having them as ‘House Heroes’. Each House Hero will epitomise the school values:
The House Heroes (taken from the school website)
The Ops room support worker at RAF Hornchurch during WW2. The Ops room was the nerve centre for RAF Hornchurch. It provided strategic guidance and was key to both the protection of the Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain.
Operating the printer, teleprinter and contributing to plotting, she worked in terrifying times but was known to have shown unfaltering bravery and courage.
A young boy, a hero, who made a selfless choice
Ronald Eke was a 13-year-old when his family home was hit by 2 bombs in mid-November 1940. Despite horrendous injuries (both of his legs being severely crushed) he pretended that his injuries were mild to allow for his family members to be found first.
He gave invaluable information so his family and others were saved.
The true professional and former Sanders student who epitomises the values of Teamwork and Hard Work who died in action in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on 5th November 2013.
He had extensive experience in overseas ops and tours. During his second tour of Afghanistan, he sadly died.
Regarded as a true professional by his peers and those whom he led.
Volunteering for the RAF in WW2 having migrated from Jamaica, helped to organise the first Caribbean-style carnival in London, later becoming the first Notting Hill Carnival. Elected Mayor for the London Borough of Southwark in 1983.
Known for his work with the Windrush Foundation, to preserve the memories of the West Indian pioneers who left their homes to migrate and help rebuild a post-war Britain
The flying ace of WW2. A pilot whose courage and determination helped win the Battle of Britain
A distinguished pilot, he had extraordinary skill in chasing down the enemy and was known for his utter determination in protecting London’s airspace and the citizens who lived there. He was described as a ‘cool’ character, always calm, even in the face of adversity.