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.
The first sight of the Arboretum is very impressive, as soon as you step out of the visitor centre, you get this magnificent view.
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 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.
All around the naval area were various monuments, small and large, a few are shown below…
From recent memorials to honour service in trades, to memorials of significant events.
Some unusual monuments, but clearly fitting.
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.
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!).
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.
- See the July edition of the Semaphore Circular [↩]