In August 1961, Rosalind Jones was 15 years old when the Holtaheia plane crash in Norway occurred that killed her brother and his friends from the Lanfranc School in Croydon (now Archbishop Lanfranc Academy). It completely changed her life. The crash claimed the lives of 34 schoolboys, two teachers, and three Cunard Eagle crew members.
In May 2008, Rosalind began research to write a commemorative book for the 50th Anniversary of the Lanfranc tragedy in which her brother Quentin died. She had envisaged something simple – just a photograph and a page of ‘Memories’ for each of the victims. What happened was something far greater.
In the three years that followed, she received thousands of emails, and a more complete story of what happened 50 years ago gradually unfolded. It was a long and difficult job to trace relatives and friends of all the boys and masters, but Rosalind never doubted that eventually she would find contacts for them all – and so it has proved. She was determined that all the boys, masters and the three crew members must be remembered for the 50th Anniversary, in 2011.
Her research revealed just how much the Stavanger Red Cross had personally given in the rescue and she is determined that all royalties from her book (which is also translated into Norwegian as ‘Flystyrten I Holtaheia’ – Plane Crash on Holtaheia‘) should go in tribute to their sacrifice to help their International Aid work. Now she just hopes that her book will sell well and raise funds that will go to help others in need through the Red Cross.
Instead of falling apart after the deaths of both her brother Quentin and her father within the space of a few months, Rosalind was determined to keep a promise she’d made to her father – to work hard (at long last) at school. Going to Holtaheia for the dedication of the Cross in 1962 gave her a new direction to study the natural world, so she worked hard to win a place at London University where she gained a Joint Honours degree in Geology and Zoology. After a year as a Scientific Assistant at The British Museum of Natural History’s Palaeontology department, she married and took up teaching as a career. Rosalind has also written and self-published many short books, as well as regularly writing for several magazines and newspapers.
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