Old Photos of Witham

Plaque on one of trees in the Park planted by RAF in 1946

Taken: 1968 or 1969 approx, Ref: M1010

A plaque on one of the oak trees in the Park (recreation ground), Maldon Road.

The trees were planted by RAF personnel in 1946 after the Second World War. The inscription reads ‘THIS TREE WAS PLANTED BY / GROUP CAPTAIN A. J. BIGGAR / ON 23RD JANUARY 1946, IN GRATITUDE FOR / THE GREAT KINDNESS OF THE PEOPLE OF / WITHAM TO R. A. F. STATION RIVENHALL / BETWEEN OCTOBER 1944 AND MARCH 1946’.

The Essex Weekly News reported that “six officers and other ranks from the RAF base at Rivenhall each planted a young oak tree to commemorate the story of the flying men in the urban district, and as a token of thanks for the hospitality shown them by the townspeople. The first was planted by Group Captain A J Biggar, who was station commander at Rivenhall. All six bore a metal tablet placing on record ‘gratitude for the kindness of the people of Witham to the RAF crews stationed at Rivenhall between October 1944 and March 1946’. Among those present was the Chairman, Mr D J Maidment, and members and officials of the Council, and many prominent townspeople, who were invited to a cocktail party at the airdrome [sic] by the Group Captain and his officers”.

The trees have flourished ever since, but the whereabouts of the plaques is unknown.

Photos concerning these trees are M847, M849, M854, M1010, M1011, M1012, M1013, M1014, and M1218.

RefM1010
Date taken1968 or 1969 approx
SourceGurton, Sid
Posted on Full size 2349 × 1581

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Every effort has been made to contact the owners of the photos or their relatives, to obtain their permission to use their pictures. But I have not always managed to find them, for which I apologise.

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