A STATUE commemorating the lives of fallen Navy personnel has been officially opened at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas.
It was opened by the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Prince Michael of Kent and was commissioned by the Royal Naval Association to mark the 60th anniversary of its royal charter. Around 1,500 veterans of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines attended the ceremony.
The statue, which has been placed in the naval section, is the first national memorial for to be erected at the Arboretum and also serves as a commemoration of those who are currently serving and will serve tomorrow regardless of rank, trade or fighting arm.
It is a significant landmark in an area of the Arboretum where shipmates and their families of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and their reserves can quietly remember their comrades and loved ones. The memorial was designed by Graeme Mitcheson and combines a sculpture with large glass coloured sails.
Andrew Baud, a spokesman for the Royal British Legion said that the idea for a statue to commemorate the service given by naval personnel has been developing for some time.
He also explained the significance of the design. He told the Mail: “We encouraged the Royal Naval Association to be as daring and ambitious as possible for what they wanted to do.
“The Royal Naval Association has a large membership and we wanted to put something in place that would be befitting to both current and past members.
“The memorial is made up of 13 glass panels, five of which represent the oceans of the world. The yellow panel at one end represents the sun rising, while the red one at the other end represents sunset.
“In the right light, altogether they cast a shadow down below which looks like a ship. It’s quite a striking memorial and very significant to those which it commemorates and honours.”
“At one end there is a sculpture of a lone serviceman with his head bowed, paying his respects to those who fell.”
Those involved with commissioning the memorial at the Arboretum said that the themev is described as ‘At the going down of the sun, we will remember them.’