National Memorial Arboretum image gallery

To conclude this series of Remembrance Week posts from the NMA I offer this gallery of images which hopefully gives an impression of what a special place the arboretum is. (Click on any one to enlarge and then scroll through).

Included are memorials to RAF Squadron 47, The Women’s Land Army, Shot at Dawn which commemorates the 306 soldiers executed for desertion during WW1, the Burma Railway, the Army Apprentices, – just a few of the hundreds of memorials there and far too many to cover within the confines of this blog.

The carving in the chapel of ‘The Storyteller’, depicts Jesus speaking to children in a modern setting, and includes the words ‘The past is the key to the future’. Sir Winston Churchill said it in the following way – “The further backward you look, the further forward you can see.” What a perfect place the arboretum is to learn about the past and reflect upon what the future might hold. Well worth a visit in any season.

National Memorial Arboretum – Armed Forces Memorial

At the very heart of the Arboretum is the Armed Forces Memorial.

It commemorates those who have lost their lives in the service of the country since the end of the Second World War. Over 16,000 names are recorded on the memorial but an equally sobering fact is that there is space on the empty panels for 15,000 more names.

The National Memorial Arboretum

A few weeks ago we visited the National Memorial Arboretum near Alrewas, between Burton and Lichfield in Staffordshire. Although the arboretum is only a few miles from home, it had been six years since we last visited it and many more memorials had been erected in that period.

The statistics – Over 30,000 trees, almost 400 varied memorials, 150 acres of beautifully maintained grounds. The memorials represent various organisations from military associations, charities, notable events, to the police and all the emergency services. This is a fascinating place, not morbid (there are no actual burials or graves there) but very peaceful and thought provoking. The chapel is the only place in the country to hold a daily Act of Remembrance, even on Christmas Day.

Rather than repeat or attempt to précis the large amount of information available here is a link to the website

There are understandably lots of traditional memorials such as columns, obelisks, large granite and Portland stone structures but there are numerous unusual and unique ones too.

This first one commemorates the Christmas Day truce in 1914 when British and German soldiers ceased hostilities, played football, sang Silent Night / Stille Nacht, and exchanged small gifts of chocolate or cigarettes. The trees here are appropriately Christmas trees. The memorial was dedicated in 2014 by HRH The Duke of Cambridge, president of the FA.

The Football Remembers memorial was designed by ten-year old Spencer Turner after a UK-wide competition.

Another interesting one entitled Every Which Way remembers the evacuation of millions of British children separated from their families during WW2

Poppies in remembrance of individuals.

The Royal Air Forces Association

The Naval Service Memorial