The Arnhem Oak


In time for Remembrance Sunday, Friends of The Tenth, have planted a Dutch Oak tree in their 10th Battalion Memorial Garden at Burrough on the Hill. The tree was grown from an acorn collected from under a battle-scarred oak in the grounds of The Hartenstein Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek, the Netherlands.

In September 1944, during the Battle of Arnhem (Operation Market Garden), the then Hartenstein Hotel became the headquarters of British First Airborne Division. Only a few hundred yards from the hotel, the remnants of the 10th Parachute Battalion, part of British First Airborne, fought their last stand. Of the 582 men of the Battalion who had parachuted into Holland on the 18th September 1944, only around 30 were left fighting. The 10th Battalion was based in and around Somerby for nine months prior to being dropped 60 miles behind enemy lines into Nazi occupied Holland.

The tree was planted by James and Toby Jesson, both who served in the British Army. In 2009, the 65thAnniversary of Operation Market Garden, James, a member of 4PARA, parachuted into Arnhem and later collected acorns from the grounds of the Hartenstein. James gave the acorns to various Airborne comrades including Major Dave Swarbrick. Dave planted the acorn at home and grew the tree which now graces the 10thBattalion Memorial at Burrough on The Hill.