Martin Gilbert Quote

In No-Man’s Land near Loos an enormous flowering cherry tree had blossomed with stunning beauty that spring. After the blossoms had fallen a young British officer went out on night patrol and, climbing to the top of the tree, fixed a Union Jack to the trunk. As he was climbing down the tree, the Germans sent up a flare, and the officer was seen. A machine-gunner opened fire and he was hit. His body hung there: the attempts by two British patrols to get his body down on the following two nights were unsuccessful. Then the British artillery was asked to fire on the tree in the hope of bringing the body, and the tree, down. Gradually all the branches were blown off, and the body fell to the ground, but the tree stump remained.

Martin Gilbert

In No-Man’s Land near Loos an enormous flowering cherry tree had blossomed with stunning beauty that spring. After the blossoms had fallen a young British officer went out on night patrol and, climbing to the top of the tree, fixed a Union Jack to the trunk. As he was climbing down the tree, the Germans sent up a flare, and the officer was seen. A machine-gunner opened fire and he was hit. His body hung there: the attempts by two British patrols to get his body down on the following two nights were unsuccessful. Then the British artillery was asked to fire on the tree in the hope of bringing the body, and the tree, down. Gradually all the branches were blown off, and the body fell to the ground, but the tree stump remained.

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About Martin Gilbert

Sir Martin John Gilbert (25 October 1936 – 3 February 2015) was a British historian and honorary Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. He was the author of eighty-eight books, including works on Winston Churchill, the 20th century, and Jewish history including the Holocaust.
He was a member of the Chilcot Inquiry into Britain's role in the Iraq War.