HRH PRINCESS ALEXANDRA UNVEILS TRIBUTE TO RAF HOSPITAL IN HALTON
PUBLISHED: 12:22 09 November 2011 | UPDATED: 20:15 20 February 2013
Ceremony records how hospital played an important role in Second World War.
HRH Princess Alexandra unveiled a tribute to commemorate Princess Marys Royal Air Force Hospital in Halton, Bucks, yesterday (Tuesday).
The Tribute sits under a beautiful purple beech tree which was originally planted by her aunt, HRH Princess Mary in 1927. Following the closure of the hospital in 1996 for much needed new homes in the area, developer Barratt Homes welcomed the idea to preserve the stone and tree which now sits at the heart of the development.
Local historian Group Captain (retired) Min Larkin requested that the developers keep the stone lintel which adorned the original entrance to the Nursing Officers Mess, and was delighted to see the Princess unveil the tribute.
He said: It was a very proud moment to watch HRH Princess Alexandra unveil such an important tribute to Princess Marys Royal Air Force Hospital, Halton. The memory of the hospital means a considerable amount to many people after playing such an important role in the Second World War, and where staff here treated over 20,000 war casualties.
Around 80 medical, dental, nursing and support staff who worked at the hospital during its distinguished 70-year history were invited to view the Royal unveiling. All were treated to refreshments at Halton House before being escorted to Nightingale Woods where they awaited the Princesss arrival while enjoying music from the Halton Apprentices Pipe Band.
The Station Commander of RAF Halton, Group Captain Chris Elliot, said: Im honoured to have been invited to this event, which commemorates the work of countless servicemen and women and recognises a huge part of RAF medical history. The advances that were made in medicine as a result of excellence at the hospital have a positive impact on a global scale. The tribute also demonstrates RAF Haltons close and enduring relationship with the local community.
The tree, stone and plaque are now situated on Fleming Road at the development; a further tribute by Barratt Homes to the hospital which was one of the first to use penicillin on a large scale.
Brendon ONeill, Managing Director for Barratt North London, said: We were very pleased to be able to honour the memory of Princess Marys Royal Air Force Hospital Halton by hosting this very important event. It was an honour to have Princess Alexandra onsite to unveil the tribute, which now will be enjoyed by our new residents at The Beeches.