January 27, 2017

In Memoriam

The National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire has a monument at its heart, the Armed Forces Memorial, that is still under construction.

It is a vast enclosed space with sculptures representing the grief and loss that armed conflict causes. It consists of a circular wall with two straight walls across the centre. It is dedicated to the service men and women who have lost their lives in the course of their duty since the end of WWII. There are 224 columns of names with about 80 in each and the list continues to grow.

It is one of the most moving places I have ever been.

The atmosphere within the memorial is added to greatly by the skill of the sculptor - Ian Rank-Broadley. If you're British you are already familiar with his work, since he designed the portrait of the Queen on UK coinage introduced in 1998. He's one of my personal favourites and I first became aware of his work in 2002 when I saw some of his large pieces in a sculpture exhibition.

You probably can't read the words on the lit side of the wall, but it says: "Through this space a shaft of sunlight falls at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month."  And when it does shine through, it falls onto a bronze wreath.

Although the memorial dominates the site, set as it is on top of a large mound, there are other monuments representing various armed forces and voluntary services, like this one commemorating the RNLI.

If you are ever within a sensible distance and you haven't already been, I recommend a visit.

This has been a Five on Friday post.


  1. This is a place I fully intend to visit one day. Your post has reinforced that ambition.

  2. It looks really beautiful and moving. I would really like to see it. The most moving memorial I have been to is the Vietnam Wall. It is really stunning. Makes you so aware of how many lives were lost.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful place

  3. I love history and historical sites/museums. Thanks for letting me visit today!

    I hope you can stop by:



  4. Stunning memorial, I would like to visit it.
    By the way: normally I hate wintertime, but I'm thankful, that it wasn't too hard until today and so I have joy this year.
    Have a nice weekend

  5. If I was ever near there I would certainly like to visit as I imagine it is very moving and very interesting to learn more about the history and the different monuments that are there. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  6. It looks a wonderful place, just right for contemplation and remembrance. I'll have to visit when I’m nearby.

  7. Looks very neat and sophisticated place. I like the sturdy sculpture in the last photo.Beautiful post. Happy weekend to you!

  8. It looks like a very moving place, not unlike some of ours on the Washington Mall dedicated to Vietnam War dead and WWII.

  9. So important that these memorials exist, particularly in our troubled times. Hopefully we won't forget their sacrifice. B

  10. It is certainly on my list of places to visit and could be possible when I visit my sisters who live in the Midlands.

  11. Very moving memorial. Would love to see it in person. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Great shots and commentary, HA. I need to go back to the National Arboretum - there is so much to wonder at there. I visited on a cold day, it was VERY wet underfoot and the trees were mere babes.

  13. I have never been to a place like this, but I understand how it makes one feel. I went to the Vietnam moving wall this summer when it was in our town, and it's a feeling I just can't describe.



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