St Lawrence's Church Effingham, Surrey - Sir Barnes Wallis

Barnes Wallis's headstone in the churchyard,
possibly resembling the cross section of one of the Dams





26 SEPTEMBER 1887 - 30 OCTOBER 1979



12 SEPTEMBER 1904 - 1 JANUARY 1986

'Sir Barnes Wallis lived most of his adult life here, inventor of the bouncing bomb which breached the Eder and Mohne dams in the Second World War. He also designed airships including the R100 and applied the geodetic construction methods to aeroplanes.

Wallis lived with his wife Molly in the village for 49 years. Their home north of the village centre in Beech Avenue was called White Hill House but is now renamed Little Court and looks over Effingham Golf Club's 17th fairway. It is believed that early 'bouncing bomb' experiments were carried out in his garden using the family washtub and his children's marbles.

Barnes Wallis joined the governing body of St Lawrence Church, which is a Grade II* listed church in 1932 and served as their secretary for eight years until 1940.

In 1946 Barnes Wallis became an Effingham Parish Councillor and served as Chairman of Effingham Parish Council for 10 years. He was also the Chairman of Effingham Housing Association which helped the poor and elderly of the village with housing.

Knighted in 1968, Sir Barnes Wallis was instrumental in the founding days of the KGV playing fields at Effingham. He was Chairman of the KGV Management Committee and negotiated the landscaping of the "bowl" cricket ground. As a fanatical cricket fan, he was keen to see a first-class ground in his village; the County Council wanted to improve the line of the adjacent A246 Guildford road and Wallis persuaded them to cut and fill the sloping playing field to achieve the current superb flat cricket ground. At one stage it was the back-up ground to The Oval. He was the first Chairman of the Effingham Housing Association, a charity which built homes for local people; the most recent development, Barnes Wallis Close, was opened by two members of his family in 2002.

In 1967 on Barnes Wallis' 80th birthday the village presented him with an album about the history of Effingham in recognition of his national and village contributions.

Sir Barnes Wallis died on 30 October 1979 and was buried four days later in St Lawrence Churchyard, a few yards from KGV fields. Two weeks after the funeral, on November 17th, a memorial service was held for him at St. Lawrence Church and on noon that day an Avro Vulcan bomber from 617 Squadron (the Dambusters) flew overhead as a mark of respect.'



on Wikipedia
Barnes Wallis Memorial Trust has an excellent collection of Wallis-related artefacts and memorabilia. Artefacts include Upkeep, Tallboy and Grand Slam bombs, part of a Highball and part of the Highball carrier from a Mosquito. Formerly at the Yorkshire Air Museum, Evington, the collection is currently in storage pending transfer to a new location
King George V Hall and Playing Fields Effingham. 'In 1938 land was donated to the Parish of Effingham in trust for the community. In 1964 a complex of village halls and changing rooms was built with funds raised by public subscription, matched with grants from the local councils and sporting bodies. Amongst prominent local benefactors was national hero Sir Barnes Wallis - a resident in Effingham until he died in 1979.'

image: Haslam, 22 Feb 2009
page added 21 Feb 09: updated 2 Feb 14