Oak sapling will remember soldiers - The Worcester Observer

Oak sapling will remember soldiers

Worcester Editorial 4th Nov, 2016   0

A UNIQUE oak tree sampling has been planted in Gheluvelt Park in memory of Worcestershire soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War.

It was planted by Worcester journalist John Phillpott on Sunday (October 30) who grew the Belgian acorn he picked up in Polygon Wood – not far from the site of the Battle of Gheluvelt, near to the town of Ypres.

His Great Uncle, a soldier of the First Battalion the Northamptonshire Regiment, was badly wounded hours before the lead-up to the action at Gheluvelt.

It’s hoped the tree will be a lasting reminder of the sacrifice made by the 34 members of the Worcestershire Regiment who lost their lives, and those wounded in the battle on October 31 1914.

During the service, which marked the Battle of Gheluvelt’s 102nd anniversary, the Last Post was played and a two minute silence held. The names of the 34 fallen soldiers were also read out.

The commemorations were organised by the Worcester branch of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Association, which was also attended by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, the Mayor and Mayoress of Worcester, representatives of the Mercian Regiment and the former Mayor Mike Layland.

Mr Phillpott said: “I picked up an acorn two years ago in Polygon Wood, near Gheluvelt. I popped it in my pocket with a view to growing it and perhaps doing something with it. It came up in the spring and is now 4.5 feet tall – I’ve been looking after it like a parent looks after a child.

“I contacted former Mayor Mike Layland, who has played a major role in ensuring this tree will grow as a symbol of remembrance in the Park.”

Maurice Smith from the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Association, Worcester Branch said: “The Park is a memorial to the Worcestershire Regiment.

“Through changes made within the modern British Army our antecedent Regiment is the 2nd Battalion the Mercian Regiment, who are also remembered on this day.”

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