War memorial restored to glory

Tarrant Rushton airfield memorial Royal School of Signals Andrew PM Wright

Soldiers from The Royal School of Signals at Blandford Forum have helped to improve a Dorset memorial at the nearby former Tarrant Rushton airfield, which played an important and secret role in the Second World War.
On the Tarrant valley to Witchampton road at Windy Corner, near Hogstock, the stone memorial will be 40 years old this summer after being unveiled on 6 June 1982 (the 38th anniversary of D-Day, 1944) as the last of the airfield was being demolished.
Brave young Royal Air Force aircrews flew dangerous low-flying missions in Halifax bombers deep into occupied Europe during 1944 and 1945, dropping secret agents, Special Air services troops as well as arms and equipment to the Resistance forces.
Tarrant Rushton’s Halifax squadrons also played an important role in the crucial D-Day, Arnhem and Rhine Crossing invasions of France, the Netherlands and Germany that saw Halifax bombers tow wooden troop-carrying Horsa and tank-carrying Hamilcar gliders.
A previous generation of Royal Corps of Signals soldiers flew in the gliders of those crucial 1944 and 1945 glider operations as they operated radios to ensure communication between the many military elements of the invasion.
Ten members of the Jerboa Troop of the 11th Signal Regiment’s 4 (Military Training) Squadron spent a morning at the memorial digging out the old gravel topping before laying a weed-proof plastic membrane and laying three tonnes of limestone chippings from the Suttle stone quarry at Worth Matravers near Swanage.
Bob Seymour – the son of a Royal Air Force navigator who flew dangerous missions in Halifax bombers from Tarrant Rushton in 1944 – is one of the dedicated volunteers who maintains the stone memorial by the former entrance gate to the airfield.
“The soldiers from the Royal School of Signals tackled their task with military organisation and lots of enthusiasm. It was great to meet them and chat about the history of Tarrant Rushton.
“We are very grateful to the soldiers for giving their time so willingly and enthusiastically. They appreciated the importance of the memorial in keeping alive the memory of servicemen and women from an earlier time who fought for their country,” added Bob who now lives in Stubbington, Hampshire.
Donations to the Tarrant Rushton airfield memorial fund can be made at www.gofundme.com/f/tarrant-rushton-memorial-restoration. Anyone interested in volunteering to help maintain and improve the memorial should contact John Nicholson: jn7vmn@gmail.com, 07905 346643.

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