Daffodils named after Redhill planted in tribute to wartime pilots and air crews

Daffodils named after Redhill have been symbolically planted in the town to commemorate the pilots and crews who fought in the Second World War.

The daffodils, with the Latin name “Narcissus Redhill,” were planted last week by the Mayor of Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, Roger Newstead, at Shaws Corner, next to the town's War Memorial.

The bulbs had been grown by a bulb grower from Holland, a Mr Preijde, who had travelled to England every year for the past 25 years.

He had made the journey until his death to take a box of the bulbs to a Royal Air Force Association rest house near Storrington in West Sussex.

A borough council spokeswoman said Mr Preijde named the daffodils Redhill as a sign of respect for the pilots and crews of the fighter planes who were scrambled to take on the Luftwaffe.

Redhill Aerodrome, which had been in use in the 1930s, became an operational Royal Air Force station in 1940 and during the Battle of Britain was home to fighter squadrons.

By the summer of 1942, five squadrons were based there, flying planes including Spitfires, Hurricanes and Mustangs.

By the end of the following year, the airfield was being used by support units, and remained in that role until the end of the war, reverting to civilian use in 1947.

The spokeswoman said: “Mr Preijde's son donated the bulbs to Reigate and Banstead Borough Council to be planted in Redhill in his memory.” She said the Redhill daffodil can be identified by its white petals and bright orange trumpet.

She added Mr Preijde’s son is planning on donating more of the bulbs to organisations such as the Royal Air Force Association.

Coun Newstead said: “These bulbs, kindly donated to us, are a sign of respect for the servicemen who fought and died during the Second World War. “We are very grateful to the Preijde family for donating these to Redhill and look forward to them flowering next spring.”

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