Serving sailors, veterans, cadets and supporters turned out in force to witness the unveiling of a memorial for all Naval Service personnel past, present and future at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
The memorial – a bold design of glass and stone – was created as a gift to the wider Naval family by the Royal Naval Association (RNA) to mark 60 years since the organisation gained its charter.
And as gifts go, it is a real show-stopper – as was the ceremony to unveil and dedicate the installation, which is not specifically for those who have died but also honours and celebrates all those who signed up for the Senior Service – or will do in the future.
But this is no ordinary monument.
It is based on a concept created by the Assistant General Secretary of the RNA, Lt Cdr Nigel Huxtable, the full design was worked up by sculptor Graeme Mitcheson.
The 10ft tall glass panels represent the colours of the five oceans of the world, flecked with white spume and streaks of red to represent the blood of those who lost their lives in the service of the country whether at sea, on land or in the air.
The new memorial, a project driven by RNA General Secretary Capt Paul Quinn, chimes in with the policy of the arboretum, which is suggesting that groups pursue designs that are imaginative and engaging rather than the traditional plaques on stone.
To accept the gift, the Naval Service turned out in force – the memorial is for all the fighting arms, including the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Maritime Reserves, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Women’s Royal Naval Service, Queen Alexandra Royal Naval Nursing Service and the RN Auxiliary Service.
Press Release, June 16, 2014; Image: UK Navy