Orwell Park 2019

 

 

 

 

On a beautifully warm and sunny spring day on 16th May 2019, 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 grounds of Orwell Park School, near Ipswich, Suffolk,  at the invitation of the Headmaster Mr. Adrian Brown, Staff and Pupils of the School. This years event was especially poignant as it marked the 75th anniversary of the men of 22nd Armoured Brigade being at the school in 1944 when it was an Operation Overlord Marshalling Camp (codenamed R5). 

This year’s event again enjoyed fine spring weather we were fortunate enough to have detachments and displays from  'G' Parachute Battery (Mercer's Troop) RHA of 7 Para Regt 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. The are also the only unit their in 1944 to retain there title. 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. After boarding their Landing Craft and Ships in early June they sat at anchor in the Rivers Orwell and Stour before sailing on 5th 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. Lt-Col Simon Copley-Smith 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 Mrs. Frances Dinning (widow of the Associations founder), a representative of RTR Association Medway Branch, the Head Boy and Girl from the School and Mr. Ian Paterson (Treasurer) accompanied by Gunner J Smith (‘G’ Battery). The parade then returned to the school after which there were many discussions between everyone in 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 day at  the school in the warm spring sun.

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

 

 

Group photograph of the guests before the ceremony, both inside and outside.

The parade forms up .... and marches off!!
School and parade form up Lt-Col Copley-Smith REME, addresses those gathered.
The Last Post is sounded Mrs. Francis Dinning lays the Association Wreath
Gnr J Smith and Mr. Ian Paterson return from laying a wreath to the Royal Horse Artillery men who never returned. The Pipe leads the return to the school

Chatting after the Ceremony, back by the School

G Para Battery RHA Display
Off to see the exhibits Around the exhibits
So much to see Jeep display
What does this button do? Which way is home???
Inside the Radio 8 cwt FAT. Having a great time.
Shall I check the oil??? Rear of the Radio 8 cwt FAT
All aboard!

Inside the Radio 8 cwt FAT

Vintage Vehicles from the Military Vehicle Group

 

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