Thursday, 7 February 2008

National Memorial Arboretum

The National Memorial Arboretum is a site that commemorates the people who have died or been injured in war. It reflects the troops and civilians of the UK who died in the major conflicts of the last Century and all military active service deaths this Century.

Located near Alrewas in Staffordshire, on Croxall Road (DE13 7AR for those who have sat-nav) the site is a very worthy visit. There is a good quality cafe and toilets, a chapel, shop, exhibition hall, and shelter at the far end of the main roadways. I was very impressed with the warm welcome and free entry. The map and program are expensive and, if purchased, serve as an entry fee - worth paying.
The significantly dominating Armed Forces Monument on the mound has been well publicised recently though the site is vast and has over 100 monuments located in service groups around the arboretum. Our visit followed a period of unusually heavy rain and the River Tame had excessive flow levels, causing some flooding on the Monument site. A large number of immature trees had died as a result of the poor weather. This can be seen clearly in the Road Peace Monument in the picture below.
At the far end of the Car Park is the FEPOW building (contains disabled toilets) where there is a very fine exhibition of the Far East Prisoners of War from the second world war. There is a computer database of records and I found a Tom Pursglove (Air. 1191581) who was a prisoner of the Japanese at that time. The record commemorating his name was projected onto the wall nearby the computer touchscreen. This is worthy of some research.
One of the most striking monuments for me was that of the RNLI at the side of the River Tame. The massive mound monument is grand, but for me, it is the smaller monuments that hold a large amount of interest. This visit has certainly raised my awareness.

Whilst down at the waters edge, I saw a small bird fly out of some scrub at the waterside and off out into the distance. The flash of white on its wing and tail suggested that it may have been a plover, perhaps a ringed plover. There was a board inside the reception, with bird sightings on it. No ringed plover, but a young sparrowhawk, tree sparrow, and a leveret (baby hare). The wildfowl and perching berds were very much in evidence on the riverside. No doubt this monument will be a good conservation site when it is more established.

1 comment:

Robert said...

It's life in stereo. Two different takes on the same place. See you Tuesday.

Love Robert xxx