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Shipping Containers in a Combat Zone - Container Church

05.06.2014 - Posted by Updated On 05.06.2014    

There are countless articles about how shipping containers are deployed in combat zones for storage, bunk houses, security walls, and most obviously shipping and logistical support. However, after a recent trip to the Royal Air force Museum in London, UK I discovered that a creative British Flight Lieutenant deployed Falklands suggested using a shipping container as a chapel.

All other structures at Port Stanley had been upgraded, except for the chapel. The chapel, recently taken over by Padre P. Sladen, was a leaking canvas tent that had difficulties maintaining power and telephone lines. Many of the other recreational facilities were being house in repurposed ISO containers, and Flight Lieutenant Dick Bonella knew of a 20' container located on a slipway near Stanley Harbour that could be moved to the airfield and converted to a church. The idea was readily accepted and put into action; however it took four months to complete the modification.

The container was initially placed on railway sleepers in one of the busiest areas of the airstrip. The General Engineering Section cut the holes for the doors and windows, and prior to his departure Flight Lieutenant began the process of lining the walls with timber and panels. Later, the container was painted matt green to hide and damage and blend it into the local surroundings.

Flight Lieutenant Nick James later donated alter and two shelves that he crafted in workshops from cast off lumber. He also donated the alter cross which he made from the brass of an Argentinian shell casing.

The airfield chapel was official opened in July of 1983 and dedicated by Padre Sladen. In August of 1983 the chapel was taken over by Padre Roger Bayliss, and a church bell was presented by Bell's Scotch Whiskey.

In December of 1986 the chapel was donated to the Royal Air Force Museum, where it remains today.

RAF Container Chapel RAF Container Chapel 2 RAF Container Chapel 3

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