• GPR Society

Varsity 77 - Markshall Estate

On the 24th March the sun shone from a blue sky on those gathered at the memorial in the Estate's Arboretum. For the first time in three years, members of the Society, the Army Air Corps, the RAF, veterans and members of the public were on this occasion joined by the mayor and mayoress of Colchester and the High Sheriff of Essex, as well as other schools and authorities, to commemorate the events that had unfolded seventy-seven years earlier when the Regiment's 'B' Sqn and 296 & 297 Sqns RAF lifted off for Germany on Operation Varsity.

This year was even more poignant because of a very special artefact that was also present. The Reverend Canon Matthew Bradbury, and members of St Augustine's Church, Wisbech, came with a processional cross, which but for Covid would have been presented and dedicated two years ago. The cross bears a plaque to the memory of Capt H R 'Rex' Norton, of 'B' Sqn, who was killed on Varsity.

A bench placed at the memorial to mark the 80th Anniversary of the founding of Regiment was dedicated by Reverend Adele Rees, Chaplain to 4 Regiment AAC.

(PHOTOS Copyright of Jane Barkway-Harney & used with permission - All Rights Reserved)

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