Phantom Memorial Garden - Sergeant Len Owens MM

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Reference WMO/279539

Address:

National Memorial Arboretum

Croxall Road

Alrewas

Burton-on-Trent

DE13 7AR

England

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Status: On subsequent site(s)
Type: Freestanding
Location: External
Setting: Within a garden/park/churchyard/enclosure/Marketplace
Description: Rock
Materials:
  • Metal Metal (any)
  • Rock/Rough Stone Rock/Rough Stone
Lettering: Inscribed on a plaque
Conflicts:
  • Second World War (1939-1945)
About the memorial: Operation Loyton - 2 SAS Sgt Len Owens MM - (Phantom Signals attached to 2 SAS Regiment in WW2) at the age of 82 had for some time hankered to create a memorial to remember his colleagues who lost their lives during Operation Loyton, an SAS operation which dropped Len and his colleagues from F Squadron Phantom Signals - Sgt. Gerald Davis, Signalman George Johnston and Signalman Peter Bannerman behind enemy lines in the Moussey area of eastern France along with members of 2 SAS. This whole operation went horribly wrong when the Third Army stopped at Nancy to the west. This pause enabled the Germans to put 2 divisions of troops including one armoured division into the area around Moussey and the Phantom/SAS party along with many members of the resistance were harried, ambushed and attacked from one area to another with the end result of Len's 3 colleagues losing their lives, 31 men from 2 SAS losing theirs and 140 men from over 200 who were Deported from Moussey did not return from the concentration camps. The creation of the Phantom Memorial Stone was cut from a much larger slab in the Quarry at Senones a few miles from Moussey and this represents the resolve of the people of the village to shield the Phantom/SAS party from the enemy. These men from Moussey could have betrayed the soldiers and saved their own lives. They did not and subsequently died horrific deaths in concentration camps. Many men from other villages in the region suffered the same fate. Len asked Mike Colton to obtain the stone and this was accomplished by him along with Scarf Jones and Richard Marshall of the Allied Special Forces Association in 2003. The memorial area and design was achieved by Lens son Robert. Over the years the memorial has undergone many changes and is now complete in its new position beside the new Aspects Building at the NMA.
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