Friends of the Tenth intend to erect a commemorative stone sculpture on the village green in Somerby to remember the 10th Battalion, the Parachute Regiment.
This is a large open, semi-circular grass area that will allow the artwork to be viewed by pedestrians and also by passing motorists.
Whilst the final design for the sculpture has not been confirmed, it will carry digital information including the names of all the members of the Battalion – who were stationed in the village and surrounding areas prior to the Battle of Arnhem.
This will then become a lasting testament to Somerby’s association with the Battalion and a focal point for the annual commemoration service and parade.
Friends of the Tenth have commissioned sculptor, Graeme Mitcheson, to create the sculpture and have also consulted members of the local community on the final design.
The sculpture will mainly consist of a large flat block of stone with carving on both the front and back, while there will other features that function as seats.
The overall shape of the stone block is inspired by the bridge in Arnhem, the destination of the Battalion, but the target which sadly they never reached.
There will be very much two sides to the sculpture as the aim is to tell two stories, one about the Battalion that spent time in the village, the other focusing on those who gave their lives when they took part in Operation Market Garden over Holland.
On the front, facing All Saints Church, will be the scenes of the soldiers enjoying their time in Somerby with references to the Land Army girls and Myrtle the Parachick, all carved into the stone.
The back of the memorial will tell a very different and more sombre story. On the centre stone will be the names of the dead with a backdrop of trees, representing the woods of Oosterbeek and Wolfheze, the area where the battalion was destroyed.
The sculpture will include the latest digital technology which means that visitors can access the history of the battalion, their time in Somerby, Burrough on the Hill and Thorpe Satchville, the names of all the men as well as acknowledgements to the principle benefactors who generously contributed to the project.
It is Graeme Mitcheson’s hope that the memorial will offer people the chance to reflect on what took place over 73 years ago. It will provide a focal point for next of kin, relatives and friends to find out more and remember their loved ones.