Many people who now live in Walkington will drive, walk or run up Middlehowe Road towards Newbald, they will see just before the crossroad a small stone which commemorates the 50th anniversary of Victory in Europe and Victory in Japan.
This memorial stone was made by Mick Morrill and erected in August 1995 at a special ceremony attended by villagers and veterans of the conflicts including some returned prisoners of war.
You may think the site was a strange choice being so far out from the village centre but it perfectly reflected the feeling of quiet and peace that those veterans and prisoners most yearned for when they were far from home. The tranquillity of the area , and views across to the Humber brought to my father’s mind the stories that returned prisoners had told him that one of the thoughts that had kept them positive was thinking of the rolling hills of the Wolds around the village. It helped them to escape the realities of their incarceration.
It was these very emotional stories that gave him the idea for the Memorial Wood.
It had been the site of the Middlehowe pit which was during the 18th and 19th centuries the source of chalk used to make roads between and around the villages. This particular pit had been used as the village tip and parish councillors opened it each Sunday morning to allow locals to get rid of their rubbish.
Other pits in the village namely Townend and Bluestone had already been filled in and planted up with trees and the parish council decided to do the same with Middlehowe.
As was usual at the time volunteers were called for, the pit was filled in and trees were donated and gradually the wasteland began to change.
Over the years a dew pond was added , bulbs and trees were planted making it into the attractive area it is today. The line of oak trees stetching the length of the road beginning with the Millennium oak were planted in 2000 again paid for by individual subscription and planted by volunteers.
Each year on 11th November at 11am villagers and now descendants of the veterans gather to offer thanks for the sacrifices that generation made and to enjoy the tranquillity of this special setting.
We especially remember them this year in 2020 as we recollect the 75 years since the end of the conflicts.
Editor’s Note: Thanks Christine for another very interesting contribution to the blog. It’s amazing how quickly the trees surrounding the site have developed..