Poignant link to memorial tree planting at Bury Knowle Park in Headington

thisisoxfordshire: Katharine Harborne with Oxfordshire Royal British Legion chairman Jim Lewendon, left, and Oxford East Conservative Association president Gary Dixon.  Picture: OX66583 Antony Moore Buy this photo Katharine Harborne with Oxfordshire Royal British Legion chairman Jim Lewendon, left, and Oxford East Conservative Association president Gary Dixon. Picture: OX66583 Antony Moore

THE great niece of the writer of famed First World War play Journey’s End helped plant trees to mark the outbreak of the conflict.

Katharine Harborne arranged for the three trees to be planted in Bury Knowle Park, Headington, on Wednesday.

Her great uncle, Robert Cedric Sherriff, fought in the 1914 to 1918 conflict and his tale of trench life was published in 1928.

Ms Harborne said: “I was very proud to plant the trees in commemoration of my great uncle who fought in the First World War. I hope that the fact we are planting greenspires, in the city of dreaming spires, will inspire others in and around Oxford to either plant or adopt trees to commemorate the centenary of World War One.”

Mr Sherriff was born in Hampton Wick in London in 1896 and volunteered for the Army in November 1915.

He was accepted by the East Surrey Regiment and arrived on the front-line of the Western Front on October 7, 1916.

The author fought in the battle of Passchendaele in 1917.

Journey’s End, based on his experiences as a captain in the First World War, was the author’s seventh play and was first performed in 1928.

Mr Sherriff penned 18 plays in his career and wrote the screenplay for the award-winning Second World War film The Dam Busters. He died in 1975.

Headington environmental scientist Ms Harborne joined Oxfordshire Royal British Legion chairman Jim Lewendon and Oxford East Conservative Association president Gary Dixon Gary Dixon.

The trees, which organisers hope will last for up to 150 years, have been planted next to the Bury Knowle library.

Each represents lives lost in the Army, Navy and the Air Force and loyalty, friendship and love.

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Mr Lewendon said: “Thousands of lives were lost during that war and I think it is nice to commemorate these sort of things. We have been involved in two world wars now unfortunately but the 1914-18 war was quite horrendous.

“It will perhaps help the younger generation to learn about what went on in the past.”

The President of Oxford East Conservative association Gary Dixon said: “The trees are in an exceptionally nice spot and they should take very well. I look forward to seeing them grow.”

Comments (3)

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9:45am Mon 21 Apr 14

Shaun the Faun says...

While in no way wishing to take away from this act of commemoration, perhaps, as we approach the local elections, the Oxford Mail should have stated that Ms Harborne is a Conservative Candidate for Headington. The event was clearly not apolitical as the East Oxford Conservative Association was prominently involved.
While in no way wishing to take away from this act of commemoration, perhaps, as we approach the local elections, the Oxford Mail should have stated that Ms Harborne is a Conservative Candidate for Headington. The event was clearly not apolitical as the East Oxford Conservative Association was prominently involved. Shaun the Faun
  • Score: 2

5:28pm Mon 21 Apr 14

Milkbutnosugarplease says...

Well said, Mr Faun. I wondered why the Conservatives were involved when other parties weren't. I still won't vote for them but, yes, this was not the full story.
Well said, Mr Faun. I wondered why the Conservatives were involved when other parties weren't. I still won't vote for them but, yes, this was not the full story. Milkbutnosugarplease
  • Score: 0

9:56pm Tue 22 Apr 14

Christine Hovis says...

Mr Faun is onto something,

Obviously, commmorating the sacrifices made in the 1914-18 conflict should be uppermost, and it is a concern that they way this comes across puts doubts in our minds, so I am sure that Oxford East Conservatives will be quick to answer a few points:

Was this a private act of commemoration? Was it publicised in advance (except by press release to the Mail)?

Did anyone attend except members of Oxford East Conservatives and the representative of the Royal British Legion? That would appear to be a missed opportunity if not.

How is this tree planting to go ahead? If I want to have my own private commemoration, can I too plant a tree in a public park. I assume there's a protocol, after all if we all turn up and start planting trees there will be trouble.

And I am sure that the timing of this was only driven by the need to plant the trees at an appropriate season, and completely unconnected with Ms Harborne's candidacy for the council.
Mr Faun is onto something, Obviously, commmorating the sacrifices made in the 1914-18 conflict should be uppermost, and it is a concern that they way this comes across puts doubts in our minds, so I am sure that Oxford East Conservatives will be quick to answer a few points: Was this a private act of commemoration? Was it publicised in advance (except by press release to the Mail)? Did anyone attend except members of Oxford East Conservatives and the representative of the Royal British Legion? That would appear to be a missed opportunity if not. How is this tree planting to go ahead? If I want to have my own private commemoration, can I too plant a tree in a public park. I assume there's a protocol, after all if we all turn up and start planting trees there will be trouble. And I am sure that the timing of this was only driven by the need to plant the trees at an appropriate season, and completely unconnected with Ms Harborne's candidacy for the council. Christine Hovis
  • Score: 0

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