The Tenth Battalion Tablet in All Saints Church, Somerby was dedicated in December 1945. The following poignant passage from 'Peter Howard, Life and Letters' graphically describes the event.



As we drove up to the little golden stoned church, the relatives of the fallen men were walking in. They had come from every part of the country. Mostly in black, rich and very poor.

Men of the Parachute Regiment in their wine coloured berets were lining the way. Within minutes there wasn’t a seat in the tiny church. The men of the Regiment sat all together. During their training in the summer of 1944 they must have come here Sunday after Sunday and sat in the same seats.

The door slowly opened and the Last Post sounded. And every heart in that filled church broke. You could hear the sobs and you could just feel the pain and cost. Somehow the whole place just seemed too small to contain the sorrow.

Some faces stand out. A tall grey-haired fine looking father, erect, staring straight ahead, not a tear in his eye yet the agony of a dead child on his face. A young parachute officer with curly hair and his chin half shot away. A young boy of twelve with flaxen hair, a long black coat, not crying either but a wounded look, a deep misery in his eyes. And next to him his mother, a wealthy woman in black and furs, oldish, stout and crying without bothering to wipe away her tears.

The trumpet seemed to go on for hours.

We prayed and sang ‘For All Saints’. We walked out shoulder to shoulder with people moving to the side to put their wreaths under the tablet.

And from "By Air to Battle, The Official Account of The British Airborne Divisions" published 1945.

"In the tranquil sunshine of an autumn afternoon, officers and men descended upon territory held in force by the enemy. Some were in action whilst falling through the air, and all were heavily engaged within an hour of landing. From that moment onwards not a man, save the the dead or desperately wounded, but was continuously fighting, both by day and by night. They fought in thick woods, tearing aside the undergrowth to come to grips with the enemy; they fought in well-ordered streets, in neat houses, in town halls, in taverns, in churches - anywhere where a German was to be found.

With no weapon larger than a 75mm gun and for the most part only with brens, gammon bombs and Piats, which can all be carried and handled by one man unaided, they attacked Tiger tanks weighing fifty six tons, and self-propelled guns with a range of seven miles. Of these they destroyed or put out of action some sixty. The number of enemy they killed or wounded is not known, but it is not less than seven thousand. With no reinforcements save the wounded, who, if their legs would still bear them, staggered back to the firing line, they fought on. With an enemy growing ever stronger, pressing against them from all sides but one - and that a wide, swiftly flowing river - they fought on. Without sleep, presently without food or water, at the end almost without ammunition, they fought on. When no hope of victory remained , when all prospect of survival had vanished, when death alone could give them ease, they fought on. In attack most daring, in defence most cunning, in endurance most steadfast, they performed a feat of arms which will be remembered and recounted as long as the virtues of courage and resolution have power to move the hearts of men. Now these things befell at Arnhem."