ONE OF the most decorated British Army Officers of recent history has given his backing to our mission to create a memorial in honour of the 10th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment.

General Sir Mike Jackson GCB CBE DSO DL has expressed his delight that the Friends of the Tenth group are endeavouring to raise £75,000 so that we can erect a stone memorial in Somerby.

As the highest-profile British Army officer since the Second World War, Sir Mike served as the Honorary Colonel of the 10th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment (Volunteers) 1994-1999.

His endorsement of the campaign is a further boost to the fund-raising after Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Jennifer, Lady Gretton DCVO JP recently accepted the invitation to become the President of the Friends of the Tenth group.

“I was honoured and privileged to serve as the Honorary Colonel of the 10th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment (Volunteers) from 1994 until its disbandment in 1999,” said Sir Mike.

“Every September in the Parachute Regiment, we commemorate the memory of those who fought bravely in Holland on Operation Market Garden in 1944, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice and never made it home. We pay tribute to these fine soldiers.”

He added: “I am delighted to know that their memory is being kept alive by the Friends of the Tenth and commend the Friends for ensuring the 10th Battalion’s rightful place in history, with the creation of this splendid memorial in Somerby, the village from where 582 men set out to join the action at the Battle of Arnhem, yet only 36 returned.”

Sir Mike transferred to the Parachute Regiment in 1970 after three years in the Army, rising to command its First Battalion between 1984 and 1986.

He was also commander of the UN peacekeeping force in Bosnia and later took charge of the Kosovo Force to bring an end to ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslav republic.

Alec Wilson, our Chairman, welcomed Sir Mike’s support of the fund-raising campaign to create the lasting memorial.


“We feel truly honoured that the most distinguished army officer of recent times has given his endorsement to the campaign,” he said.

“It highlights once again the incredible level of backing we have received in the initial stages of our fund-raising, which fills us with confidence that we can achieve our aim of creating this legacy and memorial to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice at Arnhem.”

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PRIMARY schoolchildren in Somerby were given a fascinating insight into the story behind the Friends of the Tenth Appeal as part of their latest project.

Alec Wilson, Chairman of the Friends of the Tenth group, was accompanied by ex-paratrooper Jack Gilbert on a visit to the village school recently.

It gave them the opportunity to tell the story of the 10th Battalion’s association with Somerby and the surrounding villages during the Second World War ahead of them setting off on Operation Market Garden and their drop into the Battle of Arnhem.

Sarah Moulds, from Somerby Primary School, said: “The children so enjoyed learning all about the Battalion and Somerby’s part to play.

“I think we all ended up feeling proud of our little village and this helps the children to be able to relate to something which seems so far away from their lives. I’m sure the work they produce will be great and bursting with information.”

While the main aim of the Friends of the Tenth Appeal is to raise money for a lasting memorial in honour of the Battalion, another important objective is educating young people about this important passage in history 73 years ago.

“Since the Second World War, we have gathered each year to commemorate this amazing, but incredibly sad story. By doing this, we want to ensure this is remembered by these children and many more generations to come,” said Wilson.

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