Orwell Park 2018



On 17th May 2018, at Orwell Park School, near Ipswich, Suffolk, Association Members, veterans, vintage vehicle owners and current service personnel gathered for a Service of Remembrance and wreath laying at the memorial situated in the school grounds, at the invitation of the Headmaster Mr. Adrian Brown, Staff and Pupils of the School, to remember that in 1944 the School was an Operation Overlord Marshalling Camp (codenamed R5). 

This year’s event again enjoyed fine spring weather and the strong wind of the day before had abated. We were fortunate enough to have detachments and displays from 7 Battalion REME, based nearly at Wattisham and 'G' Parachute Battery (Mercer's Troop) 7 Para Royal Horse Artillery (from the Colchester Garrison). The forefathers of the latter were stationed at the school for a few weeks in May 1944, when as 'G' Battery (Mercer's Troop) RHA they provided close artillery support to the armour of 22nd Armoured Brigade. Along with 22nd Armoured Brigade the Battery spent a few weeks preparing for the Normandy campaign at the School by waterproofing their vehicles before leaving it in the last days of May 1944 to continue their journey from the deserts of North Africa onto Normandy. They embarked at the nearby port of Felixstowe, and sailed late on 5th June or the early hours of 6th June as part of the follow up troops after D-Day landings, and started to disembark in France late on 6th and during 7th June 1944.

As normal the event considered of parade, led by a Lone Piper, from the school to the memorial in its grounds, followed by a short service. Brigadier James Woodham CBE MC,spoke to those assembled, including the whole school, before the Service of Remembrance commenced. The Last Post was sounded by pupils from the school, followed by a two minute silence, after which Reveille was sounded and wreaths were laid by Brigadier James Woodham (one of the Associations Trustees), a representative of RTR Association Medway Branch, the Head Boy and Girl from the School and Mr. Ian Paterson (Treasurer) accompanied by Gunner Wheatley (‘G’ Battery). The parade then returned to the school after which there were many discussions between everyone around the grounds and the pupils of the school enjoyed an extended break during which they explored the Army and vintage vehicle displays which they thoroughly enjoyed. Similarly the owners of the vintage vehicles and members of the Armed Forces found the children’s enthusiasm very rewarding. Everyone had a great experience in the pleasant surroundings of the school in the warm spring sun.

The school kindly provided a wonderful lunch, hosted by Mr. Brown and his wife, Nicole, followed by delightful musical performances by pupils from the school, concluding with a drumming display. Everyone enjoyed the day’s events and the Association would like to thank Mr. Brown, his wife, the pupils and staff for hosting such a fantastic event this year, plus of course the owners of the vintage vehicles and the service personnel.


Group photograph of the guests before the ceremony

The Lone Piper

The Parade marches off lead by the Lone Piper.

Brigadier James Woodham talking to all those attending the service

Brigadier James Woodham after laying his wreath.

The Parade returns lead by the Standard of The RTR Association Medway Branch.

Chatting after the Ceremony, back by the School

Brigadier James Woodham (Right) and Lt-Col Simon Copley-Smith (left) chat to pupils from the school.

A view of the back of the School

The wreaths at the Memorial


G Bty (Mercer's Troop) RHA Display


REME Display

Vintage Vehicles from the Norfolk Military Vehicle Group


The above photographs are from the Desert Rats Association


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