AN OFFICIAL announcement to launch the Friends of the Tenth Appeal has been made in the countdown to this year’s annual commemoration in Somerby.
Members of the Friends of the Tenth group outlined their proposals to create a new legacy and memorial to the 10th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment.
They are aiming to raise £75,000 for the memorial to be erected in Somerby, but just as importantly they want to raise awareness of the local link with one of the most significant passages of history in the countdown to the end of the Second World War.
The Battalion developed strong connections with villages in and around Somerby in the lead-up to it suffering heavy losses at the Battle of Arnhem in 1944.
A total of 582 servicemen left Leicestershire on September 18th, to be dropped behind enemy lines for what became known as ‘A Bridge Too Far’, but only 36 survivors returned to the village two weeks later following the Battle of Arnhem.
“It is our aim to cement and perpetuate this almost unique legacy of the bond between Somerby and the Parachute Regiment in every way possible,” commented Alec Wilson in explaining the mission of the Friends of the Tenth with their appeal.
“We aim not only to erect a village memorial carrying the names of all the brave young men who served in the 10th Battalion, we also wish to ensure this lesson from history is never forgotten with the annual commemoration and associated events continuing in perpetuity.
“We intend to raise awareness and education among all generations, but especially young people, to help ensure this chapter in local history retains a prominent place.”
He added: “We need to raise a large amount of money in order to achieve our aims, but we have a number of ideas and schemes which should help us to do so.”
Friends of the Tenth are drawing up a programme of fund-raising events, some of which will be focused on the annual commemoration service and parade.
“The level of support which we have already received, not only from local people, but also many with the interests of the Parachute Regiment at heart, fills us with confidence that this fund-raising and awareness campaign will be successful,” said Alec.
“This is the start of an exciting journey which will hopefully lead to the unveiling of a memorial in the village of Somerby at some point. If all goes according to plan, it is our hope that this will take place in September 2019 to coincide with the annual commemoration.”