The new Naval Service Memorial in United Kingdom

The Royal Naval Association (RNA) of the United Kingdom has been running a project to mark the 60th anniversary of their Royal Charter in 2014. The RNA National Council wanted an all inclusive memorial that commemorates those who have served, serve today and will serve tomorrow regardless of rank, trade or fighting arm. Theysought designs for a memorial to be placed in the Naval Section of the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) to be a place for shipmates and their families of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, their Reserves, RFA, QARNNS, WRNS and RNXS to quietly remember their comrades and loved ones. At present there is the Armed Forces memorial for those who have given their lives on operations since WW2 and a collection of Association and Fighting Arm memorials in the Naval area. Unless your loved one served in one of the ship classes or one of the fighting arms with a memorial, there is no place in the Arboretum for you to feel ‘at home’.

RNA received 22 designs from RNA individuals and Branches as well as some professional design artists. A committee of taste appointed by the National Council decided to realize the following design:
An idea based on ‘At the going down of the sun we will remember them’ – with elements of 3 designs submitted. It was developed by Graeme Mitcheson, who is known for the Bobby Robson and Bevan Boys memorials. The new highly innovative design is using glass panels.

The memorial shows a figure facing West into the setting sun, head bowed in respect to Shipmates. The figure suggests this could be a sailor from the bell bottoms and round cap held in the ‘at ease’ position, but is deliberately ambiguous. Coloured glass panels diffuse light onto a white granite pavement. The colours are those of the 5 oceans – Steel grey for the Atlantic; turquoise for the Indian; ultramarine blue for the Pacific; and with white inserts for the Arctic and Southern Oceans. Yellow for the rising sun - red is there for the setting sun and for the blood spilled at sea and on the land in the defence of our nation. Suggestions of green for the Royal Marines and dark colours for dived submarines. Tennyson’s ‘Crossing the bar’ verse is carved into the pavement in the gaze of the figure.

The memorial will be dedicated at the NMA at 1200 on Sunday 15 June 2014. We will have a VVIP, the First Sea Lord and other senior Naval figures in attendance, the Chaplain of the Fleet will take the Service. The RNA will be encouraged to parade their standards and all other Naval Associations are invited to attend, letting RNA HQ know.
For more information please contact Captain Paul Quinn OBE, General Secretary RNA, Room 209 Semaphore Tower, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth Hampshire PO1 3LT -

naval service memorial

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