A Visit to the National Memorial Arboretum

On Wednesday 7th August 2013, shipmate Karl Webb visited the National Memorial Arboretum. With the Royal Naval Association dedicating the ‘Naval Services Memorial’1 in June 2014 (on completion of the National Conference), this was an ideal opportunity to see where the new memorial will be positioned.

Shipmate Karl Webb at the Memorial Arboretum

Shipmate Karl Webb at the Memorial Arboretum

The first sight of the Arboretum is very impressive, as soon as you step out of the visitor centre, you get this magnificent view.

The National Memorial Arboretum

The National Memorial Arboretum

Turning left from the visitor centre and you will see the Royal Naval area, dedicated to the various branches, conflicts, and supporting roles related to the senior service. The first, and currently the largest, memorial is dedicated to the South Atlantic Campaign.

The Falklands Conflict Memorial

The Falklands Conflict Memorial

The South Atlantic Campaign, probably better known as the Falklands Campaign (or conflict) ended on the 14th June with the Argentine surrender to British forces. Shipmate Karl Webb’s first overseas deployment in the Royal Navy was to the Falkland Islands in 1984 – the 14th of June is also significant to S/M Karl Webb as this is his birthday. Time for a photo opportunity, and a silent tribute to absent friends.

Shipmate Karl Webb at the Falklands Memorial

Shipmate Karl Webb at the Falklands Memorial

All around the naval area were various monuments, small and large, a few are shown below…

Fleet Air Arm Memorial

Fleet Air Arm Memorial

From recent memorials to honour service in trades, to memorials of significant events.

HMS Repulse and Prince of Wales Memorial

HMS Repulse and Prince of Wales Memorial

Some unusual monuments, but clearly fitting.

WRNS Memorial

WRNS Memorial

Memorials to the many lives lost in conflicts during peace and war. Shipmate Spike Milligan (Huntingdon & District Branch) served onboard HMS London during the ‘Yangtze Incident’ in 1949.

The Yangtze Incident

The Yangtze Incident

But, back to business. I wanted to see where the ‘Naval Services Memorial’ is going to be placed? My best guess (and highly probable looking at the open space), is that it will be positioned directly behind the Falklands memorial, along the main pathway. This is actually a very good spot, and when the sun is shining well, I think the ‘shadow’ created by the memorial will work a treat (when you see the memorial, and read up about it, you will know what I mean – but I’m not going to spoil it for you!).

Possible location of the Naval Services Memorial

Possible location of the Naval Services Memorial

And so, the new Naval Services Memorial will take pride of place at the National Arboretum in June 2014. I shall look forward to attending the dedication ceremony with shipmates from all the national branches of the Royal Naval Association.

  1. See the July edition of the Semaphore Circular []

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