I was a serving soldier in the 1st Battalion the Queen’s
Regt (Surrey) for nine years - Lance Corporal. My duties
included working in Headquarters Intelligence. I also
boxed for the Battalion for seven years and was Army
Champion. I did three ‘tours’ of Northern
Ireland whilst based in Bulford,Wiltshire and, later
at Werl, in Germany.
In later years I found myself saddened and moved to
see our troops, my former colleagues, being lost in
action; particularly the televised bulletins showing
the returning coffins of the lost soldiers. It affected
me to an extent that I stopped watching television.
But simply blotting out the matter was not enough;
something within me told me I needed to do more. I
started looking for land with a vague notion to provide
a place to honour the fallen. It was two and a half
years later I found a plot of woodland near Dorking
in Surrey which was up for auction. When I visited the
site at Holmbury
St Mary the wood was littered with rubbish, very neglected
with high brambles everywhere. But,standing there in
the total silence apart from the occasional bird singing
and church bells ringing in the distance, I knew this
was meant to be; I knew my vision would now be fulfilled.
As soon as I had possession of the land I
contacted some Army ‘buddies’ and explained
my vision. They have been incredibly helpful. I have
since applied to form a Charity and, with generous help
from the local residents who have donated picnic benches,
flowers, trees and shrubs, not to forget their spare
time "The Queens Memorial Woodland" is available
for all to visit.
It is a Garden of Reflection, a place where those who
have lost loved ones or those suffering from the effects
of conflict, can wander or sit and remember, in a natural
environment. With the help from ex-soldiers (Queensmen)
the support has grown and so has the "word".
Although ‘our’ Regiment has been disbanded,
this is our way of showing support for our troops and
help share the sense of loss, help those suffering from
the trauma and gain solace from the tranquility of the
place. Although I have purchased the woodland the and
garden is for ALL of our Services who have suffered
in the line of duty.