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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The long and close association Everards Brewery has had with the armed forces was highlighted once again with the production of a new guest beer to help raise money for a memorial for the 10th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment.

Just as its flagship beer, Tiger, derived its name from the Leicestershire Regiment (the Fighting Tigers), the September 2017 brew ‘Myrtle’ is supporting the Friends of the Tenth campaign to erect a stone memorial in Somerby.

The full story of Myrtle can be found elsewhere on this website, but in short, Lt. Pat Glover of 10 Para wanted to prove that chickens could fly, so he acquired a red hen, Myrtle, in 1944.

Pat taught her to flutter down 300 ft on practice jumps, but at the Battle of Arnhem, the parachick was ‘Killed in Action’ along with the vast majority of the Battalion which was later disbanded as a result.

The brewing of Myrtle follows on from Tiger and also the occasion a few years back when Everards combined its brewing skills with an acknowledgement of the WW1 armistice when making Regimental its November special.

On Monday 21st August, Everards’ marketing staff, Claire Cannell and Kia Ryan, were on hand at the Cradock Arms in Knighton to launch Myrtle in the company of a small group from the Friends of the Tenth.

Although described as Amber Bitter, Myrtle is more akin to a Red Ale with the complexity and depth of colour that one associates with such beers.

Despite having no fruit in the brew whatsoever, the unusual characteristics peculiar to the Pilot and Flyer hops result in a distinct taste of dark summer fruits such as blackcurrants or blackberries and a roundness of “mouth feel” more associated with a red wine such as Merlot.

Remarkably, it also gives the impression of being far stronger than its 4% (abv) rating, so whilst very easy drinking, there is also something about it that makes you want to savour it respectfully and slowly. In short, exactly the sort of beer that would be perfect with a cheese board or pork pie to be honest.

Everards’ monthly beers are seldom available for more than a couple of years, but this one is most definitely deserving of several repeats, not only because I believe it’s the best new monthly they’ve created in three years, but also because of the reason for its existence.

You see, Myrtle did not die in vain and her name lives on because 5p per pint of this commendable brew will be donated by Everards to the Friends of the Tenth to boost their fund-raising for a permanent and fitting memorial in the Leicestershire village of Somerby to the brave young men of the 10th Battalion who were stationed there.

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FRIENDS of the Tenth are delighted to announce that Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Jennifer, Lady Gretton DCVO JP has become the group’s Honorary President.

Lady Gretton has accepted an invitation from Friends of the Tenth to be the figurehead leading the fund-raising campaign, which is committed to creating a stone memorial for the 10th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment close to where she lives in Somerby.

Friends of the Tenth is a group of like-minded people who recently launched the appeal to £75,000 to perpetuate the memory and legacy of the Battalion, which was stationed in Somerby in the lead-up to Operation Market Garden in the Battle of Arnhem in 1944.

“I feel very honoured to be asked to become President of the Friends of the Tenth, which is an amazingly worthy cause,” commented Lady Gretton.

“It is only right that we should do all we can to recognise the sacrifices these people made for this country by creating a lasting memorial in the village.

“In my role, I will certainly be encouraging people to support this fund-raising, so we can honour this very sad, but incredible story of their bravery.”

As Her Majesty the Queen’s representative in the county of Leicestershire, Lady Gretton’s role encompasses many different duties and responsibilities, one of which is to liaise with local units from the armed forces and their associated cadet forces.

This is a cause close to her heart because as a long-time resident of Somerby, she has been a member of the Committee of Somerby Parochial Church Council since 1991 and served as a Church Warden of All Saints Church from 1992-1995.

She is also Patron of five Parishes in Leicestershire and Staffordshire, and is patron or president of a wide range of local charities and organisations.

Alec Wilson, Chairman of the Friends of the Tenth group, commented: “We feel extremely privileged that Lady Gretton has agreed to help us in this way.

“It seemed only natural in the circumstances to ask her to be our President, so we are delighted she has accepted this invitation to join our group.”

He added: “We have been overwhelmed by the magnitude of support which we have already received in the initial stages of our fund-raising, and I know that Lady Gretton’s involvement can only give those efforts even more impetus.

“I would like to thank her for pledging that support and also express the group’s gratitude to everyone else helping us with our fund-raising mission.”

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