Grantham eagle flies to new home at Colchester

Paras Darren Gubby and Brendan Deveney collected the eagle. 714C
Paras Darren Gubby and Brendan Deveney collected the eagle. 714C
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Paras came to Grantham on Tuesday to pick up a giant cast iron eagle, which will be placed outside Colchester Garrison.

Warrant Officer Class 1 Chris Oakes, from the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, spotted the statue in the Garden Yard, in Union Street.

He said: “I’m a Grantham lad and I saw it and thought I know where that should be, it was a perfect match for the eagle we have on the 16 Brigade badge.

“The brigade commander was all for getting it and putting it in place at the barracks. That was it, my mission, by whatever means necessary, was to get the eagle.”

The owner of the shop in Union Street, Hans Calvert, agreed to reduce the price of the eagle in recognition and appreciation of the sacrifices the service men and women make whilst away on military operations abroad.

But warrant officer Oakes still had to raise a substantial amount of money, so he arranged a physical challenge of marching 300 miles in 24 hours.

This consisted of three soldiers and officers running a minimum of eight miles carrying 36lbs, plus their personal weapons in order to meet the challenge he set. The total miles achieved by all 36 participants in 24 hours was 324 miles.

The eagle will be finally mounted upon a huge piece of rock collected from Fort William, Spean Bridge, Scotland as this is where the paras and commandos from the 1st World War were initially born.

Warrant officer Oakes added: “I’m pleased it’s getting its first flight.”