William Edwin Orchard

William Edwin Orchard, by Alphaeus Philemon Cole, 1941 - NPG 4466 - © reserved; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

© reserved; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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William Edwin Orchard

by Alphaeus Philemon Cole
oil on canvas, 1941
40 in. x 30 in. (1016 mm x 762 mm)
Given by Alphaeus Philemon Cole, 1965
Primary Collection
NPG 4466

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Events of 1941back to top

Current affairs

The Blitz continues with sustained Luftwaffe attacks on British cities. As the bombing went on the urban population got used to the black out, the air raid sirens and nights spent in shelter. The idea emerged (to some extent a myth) of the 'spirit of the Blitz' where people pulled together united, disregarding traditional class and social divisions.

Art and science

Frank Whittle demonstrates the first test-flight of a plane powered by jet propulsion. Although the German, Hans von Ohain, built the first jet plane, Whittle was the first to patent a design for the jet engine (in 1930), and his subsequent work helped to advance the technology and made Britain leaders in the field.


The Soviet Union and America join the Allies. The Soviet Union was forced to switch sides after Hitler attacked in June 1941, reneging the Soviet-Nazi pact. Six months later the US Navy was attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbour. The following day the USA declared war on Japan, and three days later Germany and Italy declared war on America.

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Christine Herriman

14 April 2016, 15:36

In the mid 1700's John Wesley travelled to Cornwall and was set upon at the town bridge by the local yobs who threw stones at him and stole his money. He was rescued and taken home to his farm by my G.G.G.G.G Grandfather James Lelean and his wife Mary (nee Robbins). Mary nursed him and took care of his cuts and bruises for a few days. John Wesley preached to a congregation in their barn and also at the Gwennap Amphitheatre. He also baptised Mary and she was the first Mevagissey Methodist, which Wesley noted in his diary. On leaving his benefactors Wesley said he had no money to pay them but gave them the Silver buckles from his shoes which the family held for the next 200 years. William Edwin Orchard married a widow by the surname of Hewitt who was descended from the LELEAN family of Mevagissey in Cornwall, and when he heard the story of the buckles he asked if he could have them to wear. One buckle had gone to Canada with Mrs Hewitt's sister but she gladly returned it for so worthy a gentleman. Mrs Hewitt had a son by her first marriage who also went into the Church and was therefore William Orchard's stepson. I understand that in his will William Orchard bequeathed the buckles to his stepson and he (The Stepson) held them until 1956 when he personally returned them to the Methodist church at their conference in either Harrogate or Scarborough. The buckles are now in the Methodist museum in City Road, London. Verification can be made by a booklet written by Lilian Lelean Scholes and is available from the Museum. The stepson's name was Lelean McNeill Hewitt.

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