The event, which was held at the recently re-branded the SHED, formerly known as the Walker Lines Gymnasium on Normandy Way, saw two ceremonies marking the military history of the area take place.
Those in attendance, which included people who have supported the creation and ongoing operation of what was formerly the Walker Lines Gymnasium, marked the role that it played during World War II when it played host to US servicemen.
Guests were welcomed by Balu Madhvani, the chair of the Trust, who explained why this was such an important day and thanked everyone who had played a part in making it happen. Trustee Allan Foad also said that, when it was formed, the Trust had three objectives, the third of which was to preserve the history of the SHED and that was what the day was about.
In the first ceremony George Bason, the chairman of the RAF Linguists’ Association (RAFLING) presented the Trust with a blue plaque commemorating the US Army who had occupied the building during the second world war, the Royal Army Education Corps who were the first post war tenants, and the Joint Services School for Linguists (JSSL) who were the last occupants. The JSSL was run by the RAF which is why the plaque was being awarded to the Trust by the RAFLING. The plaque has been fixed in pride of place above the main entrance to the SHED.
In the second ceremony Group Captain Mike Trace, Deputy Lieutenant of Cornwall, unveiled a tablet donated by Drew’s Memorials in honour of all those who fell in the battle for Normandy in World War II. A wildflower garden was then inaugurated along the front of the building with a prayer from Paul Holley, vicar of St Petroc’s church, and guests took turns to sow seeds in the garden while Matthew Harrison played John Williams’ Hymn to the fallen.
Finally, a pub sign was unveiled in front of the bar in the building in honour of
Ronnie Marshall, one of the Trust’s biggest benefactors. The unveiling was performed by Sue Carthew a friend of the Marshall family, and Balu emphasised how important Ronnie’s contribution was to the creation of the SHED. Guests then retired to Ronnie’s Bar for drinks and light refreshments.
It is thought that the SHED is the only second world war building in Cornwall still being used for its original purpose and after the event Balu Madhvani felt satisfied it was a job well done. He said, “The past will not be forgotten”.