On Saturday 11th September, Friends of The Tenth held a very well attended annual general meeting in Somerby Memorial Hall.
This was followed by an open afternoon and get-together in the Memorial Hall where the Charity’s historian and archivist, Grahame Warner, read the opening chapter from his forthcoming book, which is a comprehensive history of the Battalion – ‘Arnhem: Eight Days to Oblivion’.
During the afternoon, there was a sale of merchandise, especially popular were signed copies of ‘The Tenth Battalion Trail’.
Later, on Saturday afternoon, attention turned to the more serious business of the Remembrance Service at the 10th Battalion Memorial, Burrough on the Hill.
The solemnity of the regular ‘At the Going Down of the Sun’ service was made even more poignant by the unveiling and dedication of a new and additional Memorial which remembers those of the post-war 10th who lost their lives during their service.
Padre, Brian McAvoy led the service and gave special mention to recently deceased, Pam Henry-Lamm, widow of Battalion Intelligence Officer, Captain Myles Henry (KIA at Arnhem). Pam, from Auckland, New Zealand, who celebrated her 100th birthday last November, has been such an important part in the story of the Tenth and was the greatest ‘long-distance’ supporter and inspiration in the creation of the Memorial. Few, who have watched, will ever forget Pam’s wonderful, filmed message played at the unveiling in September 2019.
Pam on her 100th Birthday
Friends of The Tenth President, Jennifer Lady Gretton, laid the wreath to remember the, more than one-hundred, men of the 10th who gave the ultimate sacrifice during WW2. Trustee and founder-member, Jeanie Holland, laid a wreath of the Battalion colours in honour of Pam Henry-Lamm, flags were later lowered to half-mast.
The post-war 10PARA Memorial Colonel John Power and Padre, Brian McAvoy
The new Portland stone memorial for post-war 10PARA created by sculptor, Ivan Cudby, was unveiled by Nick Gunn, son of Major Douglas R Gunn who is remembered on the stone, and Colonel John Power of 10PARA. Colonel John’s inspiring words reminded every one of the unbroken chain and legacy that link the wartime and post war battalions.
The Airborne Riders at the 10th Battalion Memorial
A glamorous old lady at the Memorial
The next day, Sunday, events moved to Somerby, the village that was the Battalion’s HQ and centre of all things in 1944, during the lead up to Operation Market Garden.
Children from Somerby School being inspected and congratulated by Major Sean Philips
Every year since 1945, a service has been held in All Saints Church and a parade of Paratroops through the village, led by the Seaforth Highlanders Pipes & Drums. Until very recently, the parade held veterans of the 10th Battalion. Sadly now, to the best of knowledge, only one man from the Battalion remains standing, Victor Gregg. Vic, now 101 and quite frail, was unable to attend.
Forty-eight Paras march through Somerby
The Seaforth Highlanders Pipes & Drums
The 77th Arnhem Service, All Saints, Somerby
Despite this year’s scaling down of events in the Netherlands, the 10th Battalion was not forgotten.
Friends of The Tenth patron, Robert Voskuil and committee members, Liset Van der Vos and Arjan Vrieze with 10PARA’s Chris Dimond and Donal O’Brian, organised a wreath laying at the Battalion marker post on the Utrechtsweg, Oosterbeek.
The week before, Liset and son, Jelle, had remembered Pam Henry-Lamm by laying a beautiful posy of flowers on Myles Henry’s grave in the Arnhem Airborne Cemetery.
Flowers for Pam Henry-Lamm on Myles’ grave
Finally on Saturday 18th September, the Airborne Riders, unable to journey to Arnhem, instead rode ‘Arnhem in Leicestershire’.
Following the Tenth Battalion Trail, they visited Somerby, Thorpe Satchville, Owston (wartime home of Captain Lionel Queripel VC) and Burrough on the Hill, where they laid a wreath at the Memorial. Their final RV was at Spanhoe Airfield, formerly RAF Spanhoe, the departure point for the 10th Battalion on 18th September 1944.
All Saints, Somerby
The Riders at the 10th Battalion Memorial
It’s a long way on this little fellow!