Remembrance at the 'Arnhem Tree’ in Alexandra Palace Park, 22 September 1961.


DESPITE heavy rain about 200 people stood in Alexandra Park on Sunday and saw Col. W.G.S. Mills of the Parachute Regiment, unveil a plaque on a tree commemorating the men who lost their lives in the Battle of Arnhem at the same time 17 years previously.

The tree was brought from Arnhem some 15 years ago and planted in the former B.B.C. garden in the park. The Muswell Hill branch of the British Legion have become responsible for its care and they have placed a protective railing around it and put up the plaque.

The wording on the plaque is: "To the glorious memory of the officers and men of the First Airborne Division and Allies who gave their lives at Arnhem. 17.9.1944. We will remember them — Memorial erected by Muswell Hill branch, British Legion."

The unveiling took place during a service conducted by the Rev. N. H. Bainbridge (vicar of St. James's Church, Muswell Hill, and chaplain of the Muswell Hill Legion). The Mayor of Hornsey (Ald. C. R. Williams) read the lesson from St. John's Gospel—"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends"

A chaplet of poppies was laid at the foot of the memorial on behalf of the Parachute Regiment Association, and wreaths were laid by Mr. C. R. Hodgson (president) on behalf of the Muswell Hill British Legion, and by the Polish Ex-Combatant Association.

The singing of the hymns, was accompanied by the Highgate Salvation Army band. In the procession to the park were borne the regimental colours of the l0th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, and the standards of the Parachute Regimental Association. the London North- East County Standard of the British Legion, and the Muswell Hill Legion.

Among others present were the Mayor of Wood Green Alderman. R. G. Kendall. British Legion Chairman Sir Roy Bucher,. Chairman of the Alexandra Park Trustees County Councillor H. H. Godwin-Monck. Vice President Metropolitan Area. British Legion Mr. F. W. Manktelow and officers and members of the Muswell Hill branch of the Legion, including the secretary. Mr. W. H. Forrest, who organised the service.


After the service the guests went to the headquarters of the Muswell Hill branch for refreshments. Col. Mills, thanking the branch for inviting him to unveil the plaque, said he would arrange for a wreath to be laid at the memorial each year on September 17.

Mr Forrest said that he had read an article which referred to the legion as "living in the past" and dwelling too much on the dead. "The Legion is quite aware of its responsibilities to the living." Mr. Forrest said, "but we thought we were performing a duty by reminding the living of the services which were performed for them by the dead. Without those services the living to-day would not be able to enjoy life as they do."

Taken from the Tottenham, Edmonton and Wood Green Weekly Herald 22 September 1961.

Read More


Make a donation to Airborne Assault ParaData to help preserve the history of The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces