We have been contacted by a small number of very special people who were around Somerby in 1944 and remember the paras. Not only have they donated but also left some heart-warming (and humorous) recollections of those momentous times.

Marjorie Howlett recalled playing the organ in the local churches and being delighted when she was transported in Padre Raymond Bowers’ jeep. She remembers 10th Battalion’s ‘Monty’ Burton who lived next door to her in Burrough on the Hill.

Apparently, Monty would wrap a towel around his head like a turban and leap onto the horse, called ‘Blossom’, in the next field; galloping around and making Marjorie howl with laughter.

She goes on to tell of the tales of Burrough Court, the ‘goings-on’ of the aristocracy and the visits of the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Wallis Simpson, the Prince being a regular customer at Twyford Post Office!

It is sobering to note that Corporal Arthur ‘Monty’ Burton was part of the ‘last stand’ mentioned later in this article and although he survived, his left leg was amputated. The Reverend Captain Bowers, despite damaging his ankle on the Drop Zone, also survived and returned to Somerby in later years, on more than one occasion, to conduct the annual commemoration service.

We have received this very interesting and touching contribution from Michael Lee who lives in Wansford (near Peterborough). Michael is the only person we know of, who witnessed parachute drop exercises in the area in 1944.


Read More →


Educating the younger generation remains important in Friends of the Tenth’s mission.

Although the majority of our current work lies within obtaining the sculpture, our efforts to educate and inform remains high in our objectives.

We have for several years, engaged with Somerby School, aiding their studies around WW2 with our expertise and personal connections.

Arnhem veterans and members of the Parachute Regiment and FOTT have visited and spoken with the children on several occasions. The children have been fascinated not only by the tale of ‘Myrtle’ but also by the story of the ultimate bravery of Lionel Queripel VC and thrilled to know that he once cheerily walked the village streets they walk down.

In recent years some of the children have joined the service and parade in September, marching with the Paras and laying flowers at the memorial stained-glass window in the church. In fact, there is no proven record, but it is suspected that the ‘maroon’ of the school uniform may be linked to the regimental colour.

We recently visited Somersby School with a past member of the 10th Battalion, this brought to light for the children the huge part the little village had in the war. It helped them ‘give a purpose’ to their learning which were shown in ‘wonderfully detailed’ reports they produced, spoke Sarah Moulds.

“The children loved learning about 10th battalion’s time in Somerby. From finding out where they stayed, how they kept themselves fit and occupied and what trouble they managed find themselves in while waiting for their time to come! In particular, the children loved hearing about the infamous ‘Myrtle’ the flying/not flying chicken!”

In the last few weeks thanks to our Dutch friend, Liset Vos-van Der Ven, we have managed to contact the Dalton de Marienborn School in Oosterbeek (very close to where the 10th Battalion made its legendary last stand).

We hope that starting next school year children will be encouraged to communicate with each other through letters and school work, forming connections and bonds overseas. In the long run we would also hope to be able to organise and fund exchange trips for the children, expanding education and showing them another side of the 10th battalion.

Liset, a contact at De Marienborn School in Oosterbeek, recently posted on our facebook page highlighting her involvement with us and her passion for the topic. She spoke about ‘building a friendship between these two populations of young children’ to let them ‘learn’ and ‘teach’ each other.

We are very passionate to help both schools build this connection and are excited to see what Friends of the Tenth could bring in terms of overseas education and expanding our community. These are only the first schools we wish to build a relationship with and look for other communities that would be interested in our help.

If anyone is reading this who has contact with such establishments or may be able to help; please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Further find the full messages from Liset and Sarah on our social media.
Facebook: facebook/FriendsOfTheTenth
Twitter: @fot10th

Read More →