Manna Floral Mosaic

On this day in 2015, the IBCC unveiled it’s Op Manna Floral Mosaic, which had been designed by one of the world’s leading floral designers, Jan Guldemond, with the support of the Government of the Royal Netherlands and JUB Holland.

The Mosaic had been planted in a specially created bed on the East Lawn of Lincoln Cathedral.  The planting had taken place the previous September and the final bulbs were laid by the Defence Attaches from 7 countries, the Dean of Lincoln Cathedral, the IBCC Trustees, children from Lincoln Minster School, Hans Onderwater, the world’s leading expert on Operation Manna and Op Manna veterans Dick Tinsley and Len Dorricot.

The bulbs were protected by a series of information boards telling the story of Op Manna and the IBCC

The flower bed in early March

The morning of the unveiling broke to clear blue skies and a little breeze.  The air was chilly as we set up for the event, but by 11.00 we were bathed in glorious and warming sunshine.

Ready for the off!

By 12.00 the scene was set and the guests started to arrive for a delicious luncheon in the nearby Lincoln Hotel.  From there guests moved to the lawn and congregated in the events marquee, where Tony Worth CVO, Chairman and father of the project, welcomed everyone to the event.  He was followed by a moving speech from Her Excellency the Ambassador of The Royal Netherlands, Laetitia van den Assum, who talked about the gratitude felt by the Dutch people fr the actions of those who had served and supported during the Operation.  Speeches from Major General Dennis Luyt, Director of Operational Readiness for the Royal Netherlands, Air Vice Marshall Rich Knighton, Assistant Chief of Air Staff  and Lt Col Ronald van der Put, Deputy Defence Attaché for the Royal Netherlands followed.


Guests assembled in the shelter of the marquee

A bird’s eye view of the Mosaic, taken from the Cathedral Tower by Steve Smailes

Lt Col Ronald van de Put and Frank Tolley with the presentation piece which was signed by all guests

A picture, which was given by the Dutch Government was presented to Operation Manna veteran, Frank Tolley, by a recipient of the food aid, Coby van Riel.  Coby’s life had been saved by Operation Manna.  She had already lost one uncle and her grandparents through starvation.  The picture was signed by every guest at the event.  It was an emotional moment.

The guests then entered the Cathedral, with a Guard of Honour provided by the Queen’s Colour Squadron, for a service led by The Very Reverend Philip Buckler, Dean of Lincoln Cathedral.  Guests watched a film specially commissioned by Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire by Lincoln’s Electric Egg.  Finally the Bishop of Lincoln gave a blessing.

The following guests were in attendance:

Op Manna Recipients

Mr Dirk (Derek) Bosch

Mrs Thea Coleman

Mrs Coby van Riel

Mr Robin Teeuw


Mr Maurice Brook, Navigator 625 Sqn

Mr George Bulman, Navigator, 55 Sqn

Mr Dave Fellowes, Air Gunner, 460 Sqn

Mr Bernie Harris, Flight Sergeant Rear Gunner, 101 Sqn

Mr Jeff Hildreth, Warrant Officer, 200 and 170 Sqns

Mr Frank Hogan, Flight Lieutenant, 622 Sqn

Mr Aneurin (Taff) Owen, Flight Sergeant, Wireless Operator, 12 and 153 Sqns,*

Mr Maurice Snowball, Flight Sergeant, Flight Engineer, 550 Sqn

Mr Reg Spencer, Warrant Officer Wireless Operator, 514 and 617 Sqns

Mr Richard (Dick) Tinsley, Co-pilot, 216 Sqn, carried out 7 Op Manna drops

Mr Frank Tolley, Warrant Officer Bomb Aimer and Navigator, 625 Sqn.  Completed 28 operations

Mr Harry Parkin, Flight Officer Pilot, 44 (Rho) Sqn

Mr Les Pearson, Flight Sergeant Bomb Aimer, 153 Sqn

Mr Wilf Hatton, Warrant Officer, 576 Sqn

Mr Jack Cook, Wireless Operator, 100 and 104 Sqns

Mr Ken Calton, Warrant Officer, Flight Engineer, 7, 156, 12 and 635 Sqns

Mr Ted Kay, Warrant Officer, 514 Sqn, based at RAF Waterbeach

Sqn Ldr Cllr Geoffrey Whittle DFM, Navigator, 101 Sqn

Mr Dennis Thompson, Warrant Officer, 170 Sqn

Military and International

Ms Laetitia van den Assum – Ambassador to the Royal Netherlands

Mr Henk de Jong – Agricultural Attaché, Royal Netherlands

Lieutenant Colonel Ronald van de Put – Deputy Defence Attaché, Royal Netherlands

Mr Steve Kettlewell – Consul for the Royal Netherlands

Major General Dennis Luyt – Director of Operational Readiness, Royal Netherlands

AVM Rich Knighton, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff **

Brigadier Bill Sowry – Head of Australian Defence Staff

Brigadier General Matthew Overton – Canadian Defence Advisor

Colonel Ryzard Tomczak, Polish Defence Attaché

Brigadier General Dieter Bareihs – USA Defence Attaché

Brigadier Anthony Hayward – Head of the New Zealand Defence Staff

Brigadier General Martin Hein – German Defence Attaché

Air Commodore Chris Luck MBE ADC RAF– Commandant – RAF College Cranwell

Wing Commander Mike Harrop – Officer Commanding – RAF Scampton

More information on Operation Manna can be found here

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