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