Trees planted in memory of war hero Tommy Broom damaged
By thepickler | Friday, March 23, 2012, 12:50
TWO silver birch trees planted in memory of Portishead war hero Tommy Broom have been damaged by vandals.
Hooligans have snapped two of the five Jac Quemontii trees planted at Roath Road last April by the Portishead in Bloom group in tribute to Mr Broom.
Local residents reported hearing noise at the Roath Road Green at around 2am on Monday when it is believed the vandalism happened.
The trees were planted in tribute to Mr Broom who used to live in the rank of cottages at the junction of Slade Road and Roath Road.
The cottages were demolished in the 1950s and the area returned to a piece of grassland.
The trees, which were paid for by North Somerset Council, are beyond saving and will now have to be removed but it is not known whether funding will be available to replace them.
Squadron Leader Thomas John Broom, who was known as Tommy, survived more than 80 missions over the hostile skies of Europe and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross three times.
Tommy, together with his namesake and great friend, Air Vice Marshall Sir Ivor Broom, led some of the most daring raids of World War II.
The duo was famously known as The Flying Brooms and their pathfinder Mosquito bomber was adorned with a crossed broomsticks logo for good luck.
They shared 58 operational flights, 22 of which were above the heavily-defended Berlin and their feats were widely admired throughout the RAF.
They served together on 571, 128 and 163 squadrons.
Tommy, who lived in Portishead, died in May 2010 aged 96.
Portishead in Bloom members have described the vandalism as 'sickening.'
Portishead in Bloom chairman, Sandy Tebbutt, said: "If it hadn't been for men and women like Tommy Broom we would not be living in the free country we are today.
"We owe that generation so much and this sort of vandalism is just sickening."
It is expected it will cost around £100 to replace the two trees.
Mrs Tebbutt said: "We are hoping we can replace them and are also looking at ways we can prevent further vandal attacks.
"We would ideally like to put up tree guards around the saplings, but these are extremely expensive.
"North Somerset Council is looking at what funding is available for the replacement of the trees."
Police are also doing a letter drop of homes in the area asking anyone with information about the vandal attack to contact them.
Tommy, who was born in Portishead in January 1914, joined the RAF aged 18 in 1932 after leaving school at 14 and working in a garage.
His wartime heroics remained a well guarded secret until his friend Tom Parry Evans persuaded him to reveal his extraordinary deeds to a wider audience.
Tom, a former school teacher who used to commute from Portishead to Avonmouth on the same bus as Tommy, eventually convinced him they should write a book.
The pair met twice a week and eventually Squadron Leader, Tommy Broom DFC** - The Legendary Mosquito Navigator - was published.