An Act of Remembrance, and of
Dedication of a Tree and Plaque
to all who served on 207 Squadron
Royal Air Force

The National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas,
Sunday 4th September 2005 at 11.30am

Rev Dr Desmond Harvey
Retired Assistant Chaplain in Chief of the Royal Air Force


The National Memorial Arboretum has been created on a 150 acre site, situated within the National Forest on land gifted by Lafarge Aggregates Ltd. The site is a living and lasting focus of remembrance for people from all walks of life. The administration of the Arboretum is by a part of the Royal British Legion Group.

It is a haven of peace and contemplation set in the Staffordshire countryside where visitors can both enjoy and learn about the trees and reflect on their special symbolism. The Arboretum is home to over 100 major memorials representing military and civilian organisations in addition to many individual dedications. The Millennium Chapel of Peace and Forgiveness plays a central role in the life of the Arboretum.

Each day at 11am a two minute silence is observed. The location benefits from a special wildlife habitat bordered on one side by the banks of the River Tame.


President, Wg Cdr Ken Marwood AFM RAF(Retd): Here amidst the many trees dedicated to the Royal Air Force at the National Memorial Arboretum we come this morning to add our own. It will be a living symbol of the sacrifice of those who died, and of the fellowship that has been such a feature of No.207 Sqn.

Since the disbandment of the Squadron in 1984 that spirit of fellowship has been successfully maintained by our Association, not only among those who served on the Squadron, but also among the families and friends of 207.

We delight in continuing and sharing that fellowship with the present day Squadron.

In this 60th Anniversary year of the ending of World War Two, this is a special tree among those connected with the Squadron, others being the many at East Kirkby dedicated to our wartime crews and the woodland dedicated in thankful memory of our founding President, AVM David Dick.

L-R: President 207 Sqn RAF Association Wg Cdr Ken Marwood AFM RAF(Retd), OC 207R Sqn Ldr Paul Stockley RAF, Wg Cdr Thos Murray DSO DFC* RAF(Retd), Mrs Dorothy Ware, Wg Cdr Russ Jeffs AFC RAF(Retd) OC 207 Sqn 1942

I will now ask The Reverend Dr Desmond Harvey, son in law of one of our wartime casualties and formerly Assistant Chaplain in Chief of the Royal Air Force, to lead us in this Act of Dedication and Remembrance.

Rev Desmond Harvey: Let us, who represent the continuing fellowship of the Squadron, join together in saying the Lord’s Prayer:

All: Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done; In earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.

Rev Desmond Harvey: We remember all who have served on our Squadron, especially those who, in the air or on the ground, died in the service of their country - on No.7 Sqn Royal Naval Air Service in World War I; on No.207 Sqn Royal Air Force in both World Wars; those who served on the Squadron but lost their lives on a later posting; and those who died when preserving the peace.

We remember their loved ones and friends who mourned them then, and those who continue to hold them dear.

We remember those injured in body or mind, those who were prisoners of war; those who evaded capture, and all who helped them in their time of need; and we pray for all victims of war.

Rev Dr Desmond Harvey

We bring to mind the members of our Association who have died, and their families; we give thanks for the continuing fellowship in our Association.

We pray for the present day Squadron and its role in training the fast jet pilots of the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.

Wg Cdr Thos Murray DSO DFC* RAF(Retd):

They shall not grow old as we who are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them

All: We will remember them

The silence


Unveiling of the plaque by Wg Cdr Ken Marwood AFM RAF(Retd), President of 207 Sqn RAF Association and Sqn Ldr Paul Stockley RAF, OC 207 (Reserve) Squadron Royal Air Force.

Wg Cdr Thos Murray DSO DFC* RAF(Retd) salutes.

Rev Desmond Harvey: In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I dedicate this silver birch tree and this plaque to the memory of all who served on No.207 Squadron Royal Air Force in war and in peace. May it be a living symbol of the fellowship that binds us with them and with each other. All: Amen

The Association’s wreath was laid by Mrs Dorothy Ware, whose first husband Sgt Thomas Skelton was killed on the Squadron in 1943, and by Wg Cdr Russ Jeffs AFC RAF(Retd): assisted by Ken Marwood.

The National Anthem.

Rev Desmond Harvey: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. All: Amen


Mrs Dorothy Ware & Thos Murray
both images, source: Tony Ruth

Frank Haslam, Kevin Mapley - Friend Members

Our thanks to the National Memorial Arboretum, to Sqn Ldr Paul Stockley and the Squadron and to all who contributed to the funding of this Plaque and Tree.

Where is our tree? Area 17, tree 122, close by the winged Royal Auxiliary Air Force memorial.

Admission to the National Memorial Arboretum is free but the funding they receive covers only a proportion of the costs, hence they ask that if you enjoy your visit, would you make a donation. There is a shop and a restaurant and toilets.

map via multimap.com


Silver Birch

A native tree in all parts of the UK, it is abundant on the light gravelly soils of heaths and on the shallow peat of hills and moorland.

In shape, young trees are rather upright and conical but they become more domed with age and the branches hang down in a pendulous manner. The bark is shiny red-brown at first, almost like that of a cherry, becoming white with big black diamonds; often deeply fissured at the base.

The leaves are irregularly oval or diamond shape with the edges doubly toothed. The base of the leaf is angular whereas in Downy Birch it is straight. The twigs are hairless but have small resinous warts, which accounts for its other, less common, name of Warty Birch. The fruits are long catkins which break up in the autumn to relase copious quantities of wind-blown seed. Very attractive to seed-eating birds such as Redpoll and Siskin.

A tough thoroughly hardy pioneer tree that not only looks good with its graceful silver stems and yellow autumn leaves, but produces fine pale cream timber. Once established it affords shelter to other less robust trees. It is ideal for amenity or for commercial use. This British native species also benefits wildlife and the environment wherever it is planted. Silver birch is characteristic of sandy heaths but will tolerate a wide range of other situations. It is light demanding, so prodigious natural regeneration from seed soon results in an evenly spaced crop of vigorous stems.

Betula Pendula

Please visit our websites at www.rafinfo.org.uk
Tree information websites: Keele Arboretum TreeShop UK


Russ Jeffs and his instructors

The Arboretum kindly provided a buggy to enable Russ Jeffs to more speedily return to the Visitor Centre. This was an opportunity too good to miss for a spot of instructing!

L-R: recently retired Wg Cdr Alan Mawby OBE whose last job was as a senior QFI and as a Flt Lt RAFR on 207R Sqn at Linton; Wg Cdr Thos Murray DSO DFC* RAF(Retd) in 1942 was responsible for familiarising Russ with the Lancaster when Russ took over as CO; present OC 207R Squadron Sqn Ldr Paul Stockley RAF, whose job it is to lead a team of those instructing the RAF and RN fast jet pilots of tomorrow.

... and Russ gets his Veterans' Badge

One of the Friends of the Arboretum, Brian Cadman, spotted that Russ did not have a Veterans' Badge.

The Arboretum, as part of the RBL Group, is permitted to issue badges to those suitably qualified.

After a very short burst of paperwork Russ was presented with his badge by Thos Murray, Brian Cadman looking on.

please contact the editor if you have good quality images of the occasion to add to or improve this page

images (unless otherwise stated): Haslam
last updated 10 Sep 2005