Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Maroon tulips bloom to honour airborne forces

Eye-catching maroon tulips are blooming to honour South Kesteven’s WW2 links with the Parachute Regiment for the 80th anniversary of Arnhem.

The tulips are at locations linked to WW2 paratroopers as part of a growing international trail of Airborne Tulip Memorials.

South Kesteven District Council funded 1,000 tulips from Holland to commemorate a unique chapter in the district’s military heritage.

The trail honours men of the British 1st Airborne Division, many of whom were billeted and trained locally before flying from airfields at Barkston Heath and Saltby for Operation Market Garden – the battle of Arnhem – in September 1944.

Tulips colour-matching the distinctive beret worn by British airborne forces are SKDC’s tribute to the bravery of thousands of troops engaged in the battle for the bridges in the Netherlands.

Cllr Richard Dixon-Warren, SKDC Armed Forces Champion, said: “We have a unique local heritage of hosting and training airborne forces here for the biggest ever wartime airlift of troops and equipment to Arnhem.

“Seeing these tulips bloom in their honour is our tribute to their bravery and sacrifice.”

Cheshire man Darren Key, whose grandfather fought at Arnhem, worked with gardener Caroline Frost, Col Frost’s daughter, to choose the maroon Attila Graffiti tulip variety for its colour. He started the memorial trail in the Netherlands last year at sites around Arnhem.

Tulips are blooming at:

  • St Vincent’s Church, Caythorpe: a shrine to airborne forces
  • Easton Walled Gardens: Easton Hall housed 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment troops under Lt Col John Frost
  • Harlaxton Manor: Airborne forces links are commemorated with a large courtyard plaque of the 1st Airborne Division
  • RAF Saltby: the WW2 departure airfield for thousands of allied troops
  • St Andrew and Mary’s Church, Stoke Rochford: place of worship for 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment
  • Fulbeck Manor: accommodation for British 1st Airborne Division Commander Maj Gen Roy Urquhart
  • Fulbeck Craft Workshops: former workshops for British 1st Airborne Division
  • Grimsthorpe Castle: HQ for the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment


Image credit: Stock.adobe.com/Volodymyr

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