A maroon canopy of trees has been planted at Colchester's Merville Barracks to mark Her Majesty The Queen's Platinum Jubilee, while celebrating the proud history and identity of airborne forces.
A service of dedication was held at the barrack's memorial garden to unveil the 16 purple birches, planted as part of the Queen's Green Canopy initiative. The number of trees planted and the colour of their leaves represent the maroon berets of Colchester-based 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team.
The trees were planted as part of a renovation of the memorial garden which was funded by RMPA Services, which manages the Colchester Garrison PFI contract.
Dignitaries including the Lord-Lieutentant of Essex Jennifer Tolhurst and Mayor of Colchester Cllr Tim Young were joined by children from local primary schools for the service, which was held on the 78th anniversary of D-Day. A key action on 6th June 1944 saw 9th (Essex) Parachute Battalion jump in to assault Merville Battery, an artillery position which threatened the invasion beaches. Merville Barracks was named to honour the contribution of Essex paratroopers on D-Day.
“The Maroon Canopy has been a fantastic way for the Garrison to mark the Platinum Jubilee celebrations and improve biodiversity on the barracks, with a unique twist that honours the identity and history of airborne forces." Lieutenant Colonel Ed Rankin, Commander of Colchester Garrison
Lieutenant Colonel Ed Rankin, Commander of Colchester Garrison, said: “The Maroon Canopy has been a fantastic way for the Garrison to mark the Platinum Jubilee celebrations and improve biodiversity on the barracks, with a unique twist that honours the identity and history of airborne forces. I hugely appreciate the work put in by our industry partners to deliver this project.”
Greg Thomas, chief executive of RMPA Services, said: “We’re proud to support the men and women of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team, and the memorial garden is a small contribution we have made to demonstrate that. These trees will grow to become a significant element of the garden, to both remind future generations of soldiers of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and to enhance this area of reflection and remembrance.”
The Queen’s Green Canopy is a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 which invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”. The intent is to create a lasting legacy from the celebrations to benefit future generations.