2019 Remembrance Service

2019 Remembrance Service at The 10th Battalion Memorial,

Burrough on the Hill, Leicestershire

A remarkable weekend when 10th Battalion and Rifle Brigade Veteran, Victor Gregg visited Leicestershire to remember his comrades lost during Operation Market Garden.


Vic, who celebrated his 100th Birthday on October 15th, drove the 150 miles from Winchester to Somerby (yes! Drove!) and spent the weekend with Friends of The Tenth. Vic was not well enough to attend the recent unveiling of The Memorial but fully recovered to visit Somerby for the first time since emplaning for Market Garden in September 1944. Vic described the visit as a ‘Pilgrimage’ he needed to make.



On Saturday evening Vic met Liset Vos, who travelled from Oosterbeek, the village in the Netherlands where the Battalion was wiped out. Dinner was at the Stag and Hounds in Burrough on the Hill, the little pub where 10th Battalion’s Capt. Myles Henry (KIA Arnhem) and his new bride, Pam, were billeted in 1944.


On Sunday, Vic laid a wreath for his fallen comrades at the service conducted by FOTT’s Padre, Brian McAvoy. Almost 100 attended the service included many Paras and relatives of the men of the battalion.



After the service, Vic visited Somerby Village Memorial Hall, where the battalion was entertained and assembled in 1944. The men were briefed in the hall prior to emplaning for Arnhem.


Following Sunday lunch in The Saddle pub in Twyford, another haunt of the battalion, Vic returned to his hosts in Somerby and drove back home to Winchester on Monday morning. Needless to say, he arrived safe and sound, completing the drive in just three hours – what an extraordinary and remarkable man – forever Airborne.


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We are hugely indebted to the military horticultural charity – HighGround.

They have generously offered to take on the ongoing construction and maintenance of our Memorial Garden. Their head gardener, Andy Wright will manage and co-ordinate the work but will be happy to hear from anyone who wishes to be involved and volunteer to help.




In the first instance, please email:    alec@friendsofthetenth.co.uk

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Very, very sad news today. One of (we believe) our three last men standing has passed away. I have just received the following message from Jillian Courcha.

‘Hi Alec, so sad to inform you of the passing of William Alexander Courcha on 26th September. He passed peacefully in his sleep surrounded by his children who loved and adored their Emperor, a hero to the end.’

Another of our great heroes, from that greatest of generations, leaves us and I know that you will all join me in offering William’s family our deepest and most sincere condolences.

As Jillian (and Montgomery) says ‘Every Man an Emperor’. RIP William – you have our utmost respect and gratitude for a job well done.

Recently, I received this message from William’s son, Kim Courcha –

‘As you know Dad (William Alexander Courcha) is not well so, on his behalf we would like to thank you and your hard working team of volunteers and supporters for making the dream of a memorial to the “Tenth” become a reality. Through your online communications we can see the love and respect you all have for those courageous men who in 1944 dropped into Arnhem.

Dad never spoke much about his war years, he saw friends and comrades suffer and like all soldiers who have fought it affected him. He was sad for those that never made it home to their families. He was very proud to have been a member of the Tenth Battalion at Arnhem and very proud of the men he fought with.

It is heartbreaking that he can’t be there with you all to commemorate the unveiling and to pay tribute to his fallen comrades. Time has taken its toll and at 98 and suffering from dementia he is no longer the strong young man who turned 22 at Arnhem.

To everyone in attendance enjoy your day, thank you for being there to remember and celebrate their extraordinary achievements and bravery at Arnhem. Thank you to the wonderful people of Somerby.

Alec a personal thank you on an amazing job, I hope to meet you one day. Please have a beer for Dad in front of the memorial, he’d like that.

Lest We Forget’

William Courcha, 98, Anti-Tank Platoon, S Company, 10th Battalion.

William joined the Paras on transfer from the Cheshire Regiment in 1943 and was posted to the 10th Battalion when they returned to the UK at Somerby. He dropped and fought at Arnhem as a PIAT (anti-tank) gunner. He was taken POW with a composite group of other paratroopers after being separated from the rest of the Battalion on the 20th September on the 20th September 1944.

William continued to serve after the War with both the 2nd Battalion and the Buffs. He saw further action in Cyprus, the Suez Crisis and Borneo. In 1969 William emigrated to Australia. He lived in Perth with his close extended family.

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