Visitors to the UK’s year-round centre of Remembrance can now view a new memorial within the 150-acre woodland and garden site – a walk-through ‘submarine’.
Staffordshire’s National Memorial Arboretum’s is already home to 400 thought-provoking memorials, and the latest pays tribute to lives lost serving on Britain’s submarines.
Officially unveiled this month by Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, the new memorial recreates a conning tower with visitors able to walk through the confined space where a lone submariner stands.
Created by Paul Day – best known for his Battle of Britain Memorial on Embankment and the Meet Place sculpture at London’s St Pancras – The Submariner Memorial consist of three bronze sections, weighing over 3.5 tons, and pathways for visitors to walk around, and through it.
Designed to reflect the constraints upon movement that dictate life onboard a submarine, the unveiling of the iconic monument marks the end of a £300,000 fundraising campaign to create a fitting tribute to submariners and their families.
It joins hundreds of other memorials, each telling their own story, as well as the Armed Forces Memorial, the UK’s tribute to over 16,000 men and women who have been killed on duty, or because of terrorist action, since 1948 to the present day. Names are added annually to the giant Portland stone walls.
Part of The Royal British Legion family of charities, the National Memorial Arboretum welcomes over 300,000 visitors a year, who can discover the memorials amongst around 25,000 trees, experience riverside walks, take a guided walk, or hop aboard a land train tour.
Events are also staged throughout the year, while indoor exhibitions include Landscapes of Life, which provides a preview of the Arboretum and an introduction to the concept of Remembrance. In addition, the centre has a restaurant, shop and children’s play areas, as well as Aspects, a dedicated events building.
Entry to the Arboretum is free, but visitors are advised to book in advance, although some events may have a separate charge.
Future plans for the site include a new memorial woodland to remember lives lost in the pandemic.
Joining forces with the National Forest Company, the Arboretum aims to expand its current 150-acre woodland and garden site by another 25-acres to create a living memorial to every person who has lost their life as a result of the pandemic.
It will feature diverse wildlife habitats and reflective glades, areas for gathering and play, an inclusive space for worship, and an expansive lake, with a hoped-for opening to the public beginning in 2023.
For more details about the Arboretum, see https://thenma.org.uk
General tourist information about visiting, and staying in, Staffordshire is available at http://www.enjoystaffordshire.com
Photo: National Memorial Arboretum