Jump to content


Remembered Today:

Photo

Verdun Acorns


9 replies to this topic

#1 Paul Michael

Paul Michael

    Corporal

  • Members2
  • 28 posts
  • Location:London
  • Interests:Cheshire Regiment. East Kent Regiment. Royal West Kents. Grandad was in all three 1916-1919

Posted 08 August 2010 - 11:23 AM

I wonder whether Forum members can substantiate stories concerning Verdun Acorns?

I initially came across a tale that suggests Earl Haig planted an acorn brought from the battlefield of Verdun. The tree was said to have been grown in the grounds of Upton Lawn, the property of the Mayor of Chester who had lost a son at Ypres in March 1915. It may be significant that the man in question, Capt. Thomas Lawrence Frost served with the 1st Battalion Cheshires whose regimental badge was the acorn.

A quick internet search shows that Kew Gardens and Coventry War Memorial Park also claim to have oaks grown from Verdun acorns. Are there others? What are the facts behind the story?

#2 Terry_Reeves

Terry_Reeves

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,841 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 09 August 2010 - 03:54 PM

paul

The story is true. I will have to find my notes, but I think there was a box of acorns sent from the city Of Verdun at the behest of one of the British railway companies who sold them to help boost a fund for employees and their families who had been killed or injured as a result of military service. Coventry planted three of them in the War Memorial Park which was opened in 1921. For a number of reasons the war memorial itself was not built until 1927, when it was opened by Earl Haig. Prior to that, a temporary wooden memorial, constructed by ex-servicemen, was opened in nearby Spencer Park. When this memorial was removed, one of the oak trees was transplanted to the spot at the behest of local ex-servicemen. A commemorative plaque identifies the tree.

TR

#3 Pete1052

Pete1052

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,630 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Gerrardstown, West Virginia, USA

Posted 09 August 2010 - 04:46 PM

Do these acorns have anything in common with Forum member Green Acorn?

#4 sotonmate

sotonmate

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 10,430 posts

Posted 09 August 2010 - 08:15 PM

PM

The one at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew,which was planted in 1919,from an acorn "picked up at the Battle of Verdun" in remembrance of the staff who fought and died in not only the Great War,but was later dedicated to those who died in WW2. The stone memorial to these dead is in close vicinity of the oak tree now.

Sotonmate

#5 Charles Booth

Charles Booth

    Second Lieutenant

  • Members3
  • 83 posts

Posted 10 August 2010 - 11:26 AM

There is an oak tree near the Adnams brewery in Southwold, Suffolk, underneath which is a stone or concrete plaque stating:

'This oak tree was grown from an acorn procured by the Hon. Miss Eden from the battlefield of Verdun and presented to the town in 1921'

I am happy to forward a photograph if this is of interest.

Charles



#6 tharkin56

tharkin56

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 659 posts

Posted 10 August 2010 - 09:27 PM

Terry aware of two trees in Coventry one as you say Spencer Park the other in the War Memorial Park dedicated to Earl Haig wheres the third one in the park ?. Thanks Trevor

#7 Terry_Reeves

Terry_Reeves

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,841 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 12 August 2010 - 04:55 PM

The Mayor of Verdun forwarded a consignment of chestnuts and acorns to the London and North-West Railway Company in early 1917. The idea was that they would be sold for the benefit of the War Seal Foundation (L & N-W Section) more of which below. It appears that sample boxes of these seeds were sent to towns and cities along the route of the railway with a view to stimulating sales. The sample box sent to Coventry was handed to the Superintendent of Recreation Grounds. The city council accepted four boxes of seeds "to be planted as a perpetual souvenir of the Historic City of Verdun".

The War Seal Foundation was started by the theatre impressario Sir Oswald Stoll in 1917 to provide suitable accommodation for disabled ex-servicemen and their families. The "seal" was a lozenged shaped stamp that was sold to to boost a considerable donation by Stoll to the foundation. The seal would be stuck on the back of envelopes and at the bottom of letters to advertise the foundation. It is still in existence as the Sir Oswald Stoll Foundation and now also helps homeless ex-service men and women, as well as the disabled. I have a considerable amount of information about this including photographs and copies of the original plans.

For Trevor:

Other than the Spencer Park tree, I cannot find any evidence that identifies any of the oak trees in the War Memorial Park as those from the Verdun seedlings. The problem is , that the original idea of the park was that it was to be left as it was - as a rural location and not turned into a formal park. Up until the 1930's it still had three small farms, but appears to have been turned into the park that exists now after these tenancies had run out.


TR

#8 tharkin56

tharkin56

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 659 posts

Posted 12 August 2010 - 07:28 PM

I have just finished War Memorial park The Second World War and it was reported in 1944 that the tree dedicated to Earl Haig in the park was from a verdun oak and planted by the Coventry Britsh legion in the late 1920's . infact the legion used to make a pilgrimage to it every year in 1944 the chairman laid a wreath at the base of the tree. Its not far from the cenotaph, if you want its location let me know.

#9 Terry_Reeves

Terry_Reeves

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,841 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 12 August 2010 - 07:50 PM

Trevor

Thanks for your offer, I do know the location of the tree however.

TR

#10 Paul Michael

Paul Michael

    Corporal

  • Members2
  • 28 posts
  • Location:London
  • Interests:Cheshire Regiment. East Kent Regiment. Royal West Kents. Grandad was in all three 1916-1919

Posted 13 August 2010 - 03:23 PM

Informative and interesting replies. Its good to know that there is a 'seed' of truth in the story. Many thanks.