Ambassador marks Czech Connection and wartime links with Aylesbury Vale

Unveiling of new plaque to mark anniversary of planting Tree of Liberty in 1943

By Olga Norford
Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 11:08 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 11:57 am

Special wartime links forged between the Czech Republic and Aston Abbotts were commemorated at the weekend.

The Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Marie Chatardová and her family, were guests on Saturday at the unveiling of a plaque to mark the anniversary of the planting of a lime tree in 1943 - a symbol now marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Czechoslovakia.

The Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire Countess Howe, also attended.

The Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Marie Chatardová,left, pictured with the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire Countess Howe

The lime, the national tree of Czechoslovakia, was planted by the former President Edvard Benes, in the grounds of the Abbey as a symbol of liberty. He had been exiled, along with members of his Cabinet, to Aston Abbotts in November 1940 after the Nazis invaded the former Czechoslovakia. Other Government staff were housed at the Manor House in Wingrave.

While there, a lasting relationship developed between the President, his staff and the people of Aston Abbotts. Some residents, who are still alive today, recall playing with the President’s children at the village school.

To commemorate the anniversary of the tree planting Bucks based author Neil Rees,who has researched the British Czechoslovak connections, and the Czech Embassy in London organised and installed a new plaque to mark the historical importance of the tree.

Mr Rees said: "It was a pleasure to be invited by the present owners of the Abbey, Mr and Mrs Berjerano, to meet the Ambassador of The Czech Republic to the UK, Marie Chatardová and her family, at the unveiling of the plaque on Saturday."

A plaque commemorating The Tree of Liberty was unveiled on Saturday

The Ambassador and Countess Howe unveiled the plaque and both spoke of the importance of the house and its location to Chequers where Churchill stayed during the Second World War and how it allowed both he and President Benes the opportunity to meet and make important plans for the liberation of their countries.