Remembrance tree planted in Portsmouth

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines amphibious landing display at the 70th anniversary D-Day commemorations in 2014 on Southsea Common 

Picture: Allan Hutchings (141718-980)

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THE grandson of a First World War hero who is on a mission to honour fallen soldiers called in at Portsmouth’s D-Day Museum.

Royal Naval Reserve officer Lieutenant Martin Heighway handed over an Aleppo pine to the Portsmouth and Southsea Tree Wardens and the Portsmouth Society as part of his project to plant a number of trees in remembrance.

Lt Martin Heighway RNR presents a conifer sapling to Pauline Powell of Portsmouth and Southsea tree wardens during a ceremony at the D Day Museum in Southsea held to remember those who fought and fell in the Gallipoli campaign of 1915.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150558-1)

Lt Martin Heighway RNR presents a conifer sapling to Pauline Powell of Portsmouth and Southsea tree wardens during a ceremony at the D Day Museum in Southsea held to remember those who fought and fell in the Gallipoli campaign of 1915.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150558-1)

He is doing it in memory of the lives lost during the 1915 Dardanelles campaign.

Richard Beresford Heighway, Martin’s grandfather, served as a reservist private and landed with the troops at Suvla Bay in the Battle of Gallipoli.

Lt Heighway, who is based at HMS Sultan in Gosport, said as well as remembering lost lives he was aiming to raise awareness of the reserves.

‘The Aleppo pine as a living memorial is significant because the seeds it will drop can be re-planted and hopefully the memory of those that served won’t fade,’ he said.

‘The work that the tree wardens do to preserve trees is important because the First World War almost depleted the timber reserves in this country which had to be replaced. The wardens help make sure that these trees will be around for our children and our children’s children.’

The tree, which will be planted in the Hope Garden behind the museum, will serve as a living memorial to those who died in the campaign.

Pauline Powell, co-ordinator for the Portsmouth and Southsea Tree Wardens and tree officer for the Portsmouth Society, said: ‘We have probably all got ancestors who have fought and died for the country so we like to remember them.

‘The tree looks wonderful. It’s a very nice specimen and it will grow quickly.’

Attendees were given a talk about the Gallipoli campaign and the Royal Naval Reserve before the tree was handed over.

Lt Heighway is a lecturer in defence and political studies at HMS Sultan in Gosport and a training officer at HMS King Alfred in Portsmouth.

He is taking a battlefield tour in Gallipoli in August and came up with the idea for the project while researching the campaign.

Organisations interested in planting a living memorial should email hmskingalfred.joto@royalnavymail.mod.uk or go to the HMS King Alfred Facebook page.