This plaque is in Lichfield’s Garden of Remembrance. It seems that the planting of acorns from Verdun was not unique to Lichfield and that there are oaks grown from Verdun acorns at many other places in the country, including Kew Gardens, Coventry, and Reading.
In a forum (1), I found a possible explanation for this. It suggests that a box of chestnuts and acorns were sent from Verdun to the London and North-West Railway Company, so that they could be sold to raise funds for the benefit of the War Seal Foundation (L & N-W Section). It also says that sample boxes were sent to towns and cities along the route of the railway (of which Lichfield would be one?).
I’m going to have a look throught the newspaper archive to see if there is any information on this. In the meantime, it would be great to know if anyone has ever heard of this before or has any further information. I wonder who Mr Knights was?
I had a quick look through the British Newspapers archive and there is this snippet from the Western Times, Tuesday 24th July 1917.
“A resident of Ealing has presented the town with two chestnut trees and an oak tree grown from chestnuts and an acorn gathered by the Mayor of Verdun from the devasted forests of Vaux and Douaumount. They are to be planted in the Walpole Park as a memorial to the defence of Verdun’.