In January this year, the Tempsford Parish Council adopted a proposal put forward by one of the villagers, Tazi Husain, to set up a monument to the memory of the many women secret agents who were flown out of RAF Tempsford to aid resistance movements in Europe through World War II.
The stories of these remarkable women - from all walks of life, of many creeds and origins, serving variously as couriers, wireless operators and saboteurs, some of whom lost their lives - have featured in many writings and films since the war but many have not been honoured and a few still remain nameless. In 2011, following the widely publicized account of the circumstances surrounding the recent death of one of these agents, Baroness Crawley led a debate in the House of Lords, revisiting the history and acknowledging the tremendous debt that the country owes these forgotten women. She asked whether the government agreed that not enough had been done to commemorate them formally in the way of celebratory and memorial stamps that could be revisited. Despite wide support from her fellow Peers at the debate there has, as yet, been no national initiative to act.
On approval by the Parish Council, The Tempsford Memorial Trust has been set up to take the proposal forward, raise funds, gain planning approval, direct construction and set up of the monument and ensure its future sustainability. Baroness Crawley has kindly undertaken to support the trust as Patron. The monument will comprise a white marble column set upon a black granite plinth and its proposed to be sited at the corner of the Millennium Sanctuary opposite the St Peter's Church Cemetery. Ivett & Reed , architectural stonemasons of Cambridge have been tasked with crafting and setting up the memorial. In addition to the inscriptions on the face and back of the marble column, as illustrated, the sides will carry the names of the known women agents, numbering 75. The face of the marble column will have affixed a blue glass mosaic disc depicting a white dove flying beneath a full moon. Many of the villagers young and old, have joined together to craft the mosaic insert. The sides of the granite plinth will also honour the men and women of the two special duties squadrons stationed at RAF Tempsford and those of the secret services of the allied nations who gave up their lives in the clandestine struggle for freedom and liberty.
The monument was unveiled on the 3rd December 2103, by His Royal Highness Prince Charles.
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