Work begins on fundraising for a new memorial in Leicestershire

For a while, I have been working with the Friends of the 10th, a group who this week are setting out on a fundraising campaign with a view to creating a new war memorial in Somerby in Leicestershire. The memorial will pay tribute to the 10th Battalion the Parachute Regiment who spent time in the village during the 2nd World War but were almost entirely wiped out during a fateful mission near Arnhem in Holland as part of Operation Market Garden in 1944.

I have been told of many great stories involving the soldiers of the 10th Battalion during their brief stay in Somerby and the surrounding villages and many of the villagers and surviving soldiers have fond memories of their time in the village. However, of the 582 who departed for Arnhem, a mere 36 returned. Many killed, injured or taken prisoner by the Germans. The memorial primarily will honour the fallen and acknowledge the regiment. It will also recognise the time they spent in the area and reflect on some the stories that can be passed down for generations to come.

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The overall shape of the work is inspired by the bridge at Arnhem. On each panel an image depicts some of the stories of the soldier’s time in Somerby. On the other side of the memorial, a list of the names of the fallen, the regimental badges and carvings of trees, symbolic of the woods in Oosterbeek, Holland where so many of the Regiment lost their lives. The sculpture will be carved in Woodkirk Sandstone and the relief carved figures will be life sized.

The friends of the 10th this week launched their website https://friendsofthetenth.co.uk/

There are more details of the proposal on the website as well as an opportunity to donate.