The ELMS Family Day at the National Arboretum

ELMS Family Day at the National Arboretum – 2015

In West Wales the day of the ELMS Family Day at the National Arboretum began with heavy rain and dark clouds.  However, despite the conditions  the Duffee family set off  with every intention of enjoying a summer picnic in the grounds of the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Their optimism was rewarded because as they arrived  the clouds lifted, the sun came out and they enjoyed a beautifully sunny afternoon.  George’s first priority was to see the Berlin Airlift memorial at the entrance to the Arboretum before enjoying a sedate buggy ride along with Janet and minders Helen and Keith towards our rendez-vous. We were greeted by a group of veterans including Bob Frost, Mildred and Dave Sharpe and ELMS members gathered in the Allied Special Forces Grove where, after sending out a search party, we were then joined by additional Duffee family members including George and Janet’s grand-daughter Lily and their great grandsons Tommy and Charlie. This was the first time that this younger generation had heard the ‘Song of the Resistance’ and the boys stood very respectfully to listen to the ‘Last Post’.  Charlie then placed a British Legion cross alongside the wreath laid by his great grandfather at the ELMS memorial, and later Tommy added the names of Martin der Kinderen, George’s first contact and lifelong friend in Rosmalen, and also Jan Gevers who organised the resistance in that area of Holland.  Following the formalities all present then set about thoroughly enjoying their picnics and a very pleasant afternoon was had by all.

(Photo courtesy of Jackie Stanton)