The Royal British Legion, Harwell Branch

Harwell Branch

REMEMBRANCE June D Day

D DAY SERVICE AT THE RAF HARWELL MEMORIAL STONE

On the Saturday nearest to the anniversary of D-Day, a parade and service is held at the RAF Harwell Memorial Stone at the Harwell Campus. The stone marks the departure point for Servicemen who were amongst the first to land on D-Day. This is organised by the Royal British Legion Harwell Branch and supported by the Harwell Campus management.

2017 D Day Service

This year’s Service will take place on Saturday 3rd June at 5.30pm. Legion Standards, Service Standards and Cadet Forces will be present and assembling at 5.00pm following the adjacent Harwell Campus and Chilton Village Family Fun day.

For those wanting to know more details of the Parade or Service or wishing to organize a wreath to lay during the Service can contact the Harwell Branch Ceremonial Officer Peter Davies on Harwell.committee1@RBL.community

Anyone attending should note that there are no facilities at the memorial.

Harwell Campus and Chilton Village Family Fun Day.

On the same afternoon there is also a Family Fun Day at the Harwell Campus Cricket Pavilion which is close to the Memorial Stone which is open to all. This will have a “village fete” feel with the theme leaning towards the military history of the location and connection with youth. The County Legion will have a stand and the Legion Riders Branch will also be there with some of their bikes.  The day starts at 12noon and runs until 5.00pm.

2016 D Day Service

The annual D-Day Service held at the Harwell Stone was once again well attended by local dignitaries, veterans and youth groups and local residents.

It was organised again by the Harwell Branch of the Royal British Legion and Duncan Rogers of Harwell Campus with the support of Harwell and Chilton Churches.

Once again the parade saw the welcome attendance of representatives from organisations and business on the Harwell Campus and British Legion Branches and Veterans organisations across Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

Principal amongst whom, and the guest of honour for the day, was the representative for AVM Tim Bishop, OC 38 Group RAF, namely Group Captain Andrew Timperley who said  “it was an absolute pleasure to attend the D-Day Service… It is important to maintain the links between active Service units and RBL branches

Group Captain Timperley was joined by a number of other guests, which included the Parachute Regiment Association, Glider Pilot’s Regimental Association (their final attendance before disbanding at the end of the year), and Airborne Forces Association with 14 Standards also on parade

21 wreaths were laid, which included; the Chairman of the VOWH District, the Mayor of Didcot, and Chairmen of the Chilton and Harwell Parishes, veterans associations as mentioned above and Businesses on the Harwell Campus included, Diamond Light Source, Medical Research Council, Harwell Campus, Public Health England and the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

The inscription on the stone reads:

"THIS STONE MARKS THE END OF THE RUNWAY FROM WHICH AIRCRAFT OF No. 38 GROUP ROYAL AIR FORCE TOOK OFF ON THE NIGHT OF 5 JUNE 1944 WITH TROOPS OF THE 6th AIRBORNE DIVISION WHO WERE AMONG THE FIRST BRITISH SOLDIERS TO LAND IN NORMANDY ON THE MAIN ASSAULT FOR THE LIBERATION OF EUROPE"

Wantage and Didcot Squadrons of the Air Training Corps formed a joint Guard of Honour for the service with the pupils from Chilton School also taking part in proceedings by laying poppies.

The Service was conducted by Rev. Jonathan Mobey with the Last Post was sounded by Tony Hughes with Mr John McFarlane-Horgan accompanying the Parade’s proceedings on the bagpipes.

A collection was made for the Poppy Appeal which totalled £102.77.

Thank you to all who attended, particularly to those Veterans groups with regimental connections to D-Day, the Glider Pilots Regiment Association, Parachute Regiment Association, Royal Air Force Association and Airborne Forces Association and to the various and numerous on site Harwell Campus organisations and business  representatives who attended.

Thanks are also due to Duncan Rogers of Harwell Campus for the site preparation and management, printing a significant number of service sheets and granting permission and access to hold the event and Harwell Village RBL Club for providing refreshments after the service.
Peter Davies
Harwell RBL Branch Ceremonial Officer

Commemorative Address for the Glider Pilot’s Regiment Association.
Given by Rev. Mobey 4th June 2016, prepared by Peter Davies, Steve Wright and Rev. Mobey:

"Before we depart, it is right to acknowledge the Glider Pilot Regimental Association, represented today by Steve Wright, which will be closing at the end of the year.

The Glider Pilot Regiment was formed on 24th February 1942 and spanned operations across North West Europe and the Mediterranean between November 1942 and March 1945, delivering troops, armoured vehicles and heavy support weapons. The Regiment flew Hadrian, Hamilcar and Horsa gliders, the latter from here on 5th and 6th June 1944 to Normandy and in the September to Holland.

Following the end of the war, the Glider Pilot Regimental Association was formed and has been represented at the Stone service for many years. We wish to pay tribute to and thank Steve and the other members of the GPRA for the great work that has been done for its veterans, and in keeping alive the story of the Glider Pilot Regiment."

Photos of the 2016 parade and Photos of the 2013 parade, all taken by Simon Haycox.

Photos from the 2015 parade are on the Chilton Village Community Facebook Page photo stream.

Photos below from the 2014 Service and of the Harwell Stone, both by Frank Dumbleton.

 

Harwell Stone Service   Harwell Stone Service

 

Page last updated 23 April 2017, with information from Peter Cox, Branch Secretary

Standards at Anniversary Parade 2008

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