- Historical event:
- 7 September 1917
- Pilot Leonard Cheshire founded the charity know as Leonard Cheshire Disability, one of the top British charities which provide support to disabled people.
Leonard Cheshire, a highly decorated World War II fighter pilot, was born on this day in 1917.
He converted to Catholicism and became a humanitarian worker. Cheshire was born in the English town of Chester, near the border with Wales, and grew up near Oxford. He studied at the famous Oxford University (shortly before World War II).
Leonard Cheshire became a military pilot in the Royal Air Force (RAF) when World War II began.
During the war, he progressed through ranks, and became the youngest man in the RAF who held the rank of the Group Captain.
Cheshire also received the Victoria Cross, the highest British military decoration. He was in Northern France when the German V-3 Superguns were destroyed.
As a British observer he witnessed the bombing of Nagasaki. Allegedly, the war experiences changed his world-view.
After World War II, Leonard Cheshire started helping war veterans and widows, sick people, and other people in need. He converted to Catholicism in 1948.
During the same year, Cheshire founded the charity known as Leonard Cheshire Disability, one of the top British charities which provide support to disabled people.
Cheshire married Sue Ryder, who was also a humanitarian worker. She also converted to Catholicism.
Leonard Cheshire received the title of Baron Cheshire in 1991, and was addressed as “Lord Cheshire”. In 1992, he died in Suffolk, England (aged 74).