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.

2018 D Day Service

Arrangements will be posted here in early 2018.

2017 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.

Vale of the White Horse Disctrict Council Chair, Mr Reg Waite, laid the first of 21 wreaths, joined by a number of Veterans Associations including the Parachute Regiment Association, Glider Pilot’s Regimental Society with 14 Standards also on parade, including three from Chilton Scouts.

21 wreaths were laid, which included;the Mayor of Didcot, and representatives of the Chilton and Harwell Parishes, and Businesses on the Harwell Campus included, Diamond Light Source, Medical Research Council, Harwell Campus, Public Health England, Civil Nuclear Constabulary and the Science and Technology Faculties 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"

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

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

This year also saw the RBL Riders Branch in attendance, a welcome sight with their bikes gleaming in the evening sun.

A collection was made for the Poppy Appeal which totalled £80.58.

Thank you to all who turned up, particularly to those Veterans groups with regimental connections to D-Day, the Glider Pilots Regiment Association, Parachute Regiment Association, Royal Air Force Association and Airbourne 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.

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 by Simon Haycox:


Photos from the 2015 and 2017 parade are on the Chilton Village Community Facebook Page photo stream.

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

 

Harwell Stone Service   Harwell Stone Service

 

Page last updated 6 July 2017, with information from Peter Cox, Branch Secretary

Standards at Anniversary Parade 2008

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