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REME - 23rd June Event

FREEDOM of the Parish of Lenham presented to REME on 23rd June 2024

The 24th June 2024 is the 80th anniversary of the V1 crashing on the 6th Guards Tank Brigade Workshop (REME) at Newlands Stud near Charing. The 52 young Craftsmen who perished were laid to rest in the Lenham Cemetery. They are remembered annually by Parishioners and REME from 133 Company, Ashford.

In recognition of this continued link between Lenham and REME, the Parish Council agreed to award the Freedom of the Parish to REME. To mark the event, on Sunday 23rd June, there will be a display of military vehicles in the village square, a military band will be performing, and a formal parade will be inspected.

The parade will assemble at Lenham community centre and march to the village square – where the formal inspection will take place. From here, the parade will move to the cemetery for a service of remembrance, before returning to the community centre via the village square.

We trust that the people of Lenham will be able to join us in the village to enjoy what we hope will be a memorable event.

There will be limited parking in the village. If driving, parking is available at Lenham Primary School and The Lenham School on Ham Lane.


Order of Events:

10.25          Muster along the parade route

10.35          Opening remarks – Cllr Andy Ratcliffe

10.40          Parade moves from The Forge to The Village Square

10.50          Parade arrives in Village - facing the Dog & Bear Pub

Speech from Sir George Jessel Bt DL
Presentation of the Freedom Scroll by Cllr John Britt LPC Chairman to Master General REME, Maj Gen David Eastman MBE
Platoons are inspected as directed by REME

11.25          Parade moves off to Cemetery for Act of Remembrance

Public are welcome to attend - on foot only.

12.15          Act of Remembrance completes

12.20          Parade departs Cemetery – for Village Square

12.30          Parade salutes dais party on route to Community Centre

June 24th, 1944: The Lenham Tragedy 

Early on the morning of the 24th June 1944, a V1 ‘flying bomb’ crashed into the living accommodation of 6 Guards Tank Brigade Workshop who were based at Newlands Farm (now known as Newlands Stud) in Charing. It caused untold damage.

46 Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers soldiers were killed outright. A further 80 were wounded, including 40 seriously, 6 of whom subsequently died of their wounds.

For security reasons it was decreed that the bodies should be interred in a mass grave in the cemetery of the nearby village of Lenham. The grave was dug during the day by Scots, Grenadiers and Coldstream Guardsmen. The burial of the dead was conducted at night by lantern light. Each soldier was wrapped in their blanket. Those who could be identified had a label attached, with their number, rank and name.

Captain Cliff Gough (Second in Command) and WO1 (ASM) Lesley Humm recorded the exact placement of the bodies on a plan, a copy of which was sealed in a bottle and placed under a wooden cross after the grave had been covered.

Freedom of the Parish Scroll Freedom of the Parish Scroll