A NEW 'Battlefield to Butterflies' wildflower plot was opened at Osborne House last week while children sang popular wartime songs and volunteers dressed as soldiers.

The plot, based in the walled garden, is in memory of Britain's parks, gardens and grounds staff who died in the First World War.

Wildflowers planted by the children from the Community Kids after school club at The Bay CE Primary School, Sandown, are slowly growing over the 'battlefield' plot.

Kate Collins, deputy Lord Lt of the Isle of Wight, attended with Mike Fitt OBE, chairman of the Royal Parks Guild, and head gardener of Osborne, Toby Beasley.

The children sang We'll Meet Again and When You're Smiling, and horticultural assistants Catherine Mawdsley, Rose Greves and George Tyler recited a poem by David Thornton — aptly called Battlefields to Butterflies.

As part of the project, the search continues for the descendants of two forgotten heroes from the Isle of Wight — both Royal Parks staff — who died in First World War.

Ernest Owen Johnson, a father of six from East Cowes, was a gardener at Osborne House before being drafted into the Royal Naval Reservists to fight in France in 1917.

Mr Johnson died during the Battle of Cambrai age 42.

Charles Mew, a father of three from Ryde, was 46 when he died in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

He worked at Richmond Park, one of London's Royal Parks, before the war.

Island MP Bob Seely, whose great, great uncle General Jack Seely faced the bullets and bombs of the First World War his his noble steed, Warrior, said the tribute was fitting and poignant.

He said: "It certainly has my full support and I am very much looking forward to seeing the wild flowers this summer. I hope more can be found out about the descendants of those two local men who died in service.

"To find the relatives of Ernest and Charles would be a fantastic achievement for Battlefield to Butterflies."