A village Scout group is to formally adopt the emblem worn by paratroopers during an infamous Second World War battle to honour their links with the conflict.
The 2nd Heckington Scout Group will next month formally adopt the ‘Pegasus’ emblem, worn on the shoulders of troops who fought in Operation Market Garden, more famously known as The Battle of Arnhem.
Group Scout Leader Rob Lee said: “The men that went into Arnhem showed tremendous courage beyond comprehension, they showed loyalty, determination, resilience and dedication. If our Scout Group can instil some of those attributes into our members, then this project will have been very worthwhile.
“Those same attributes are now the group’s inspiration and now we can educate our members into the sacrifices those men made, so that in the future we know that they will remember them.”
The battle inspired the 1977 war movie A Bridge Too Far and the book of the same name.
Heckington staged a 70th anniversary commemoration week last September to remember the servicemen of the 1st Air landing Anti-tank Battery, RA of the 1st Airborne Division, who were billeted in and around Heckington prior to departing for Arnhem in 1944.
During the service, members of the village’s youth organisations were handed a lit candle by an Arnhem veteran to ‘carry the light into the future’ and to continue to remember those who lost their lives.
The concept for the emblem was proposed by a former Group Leader, but the design did not meet Scouting Association regulations and could not be worn on the uniform. The group decided to formally adopt the emblem and redesign it so that it complied with regulations as a fitting way to continue the memory.
Sleaford and North Hykeham MP Stephen Phillips helped contact the MOD to get the permission. A week later they received permission from the Rt Hon Earl Howe, Secretary of State for the House of Lords, on the proviso they never wear it as a stand alone emblem and must always be accompanied with the Scout Group name.
The group will issue the new badges, to be worn on neckerchiefs, on Monday September 7 at the Methodist Church Hall in Heckington from 6.30pm.
Invited guests include representatives from the Arnhem Fellowship, Heckington Parish Council and the Parachute Regiment Association, who all made significant financial contributions towards the cost and also Stephen Phillips. The County Commissioner for Lincolnshire Scouting Robin Wright and District Commissioner for Sleaford Ian Kingdom will also attend.