~ COMBINED OPERATIONS ~

WW2 land, sea and air forces of the Allied Nations planning, training and operating together as a unified force on amphibious raids and landings against the enemy.

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 Approaching 500k visits per year to 200  web pages & 3000 photos.  General information at the bottom of this and every web page.

Please show your appreciation for those who served the Allied cause in WW2 by 'liking' the Combined Ops Facebook page. Many thanks.

~ VISITING THE MEMORIAL ~

Photo August 2013 - a few weeks after the dedication ceremony.

So you're thinking of visiting the memorial? Thank you. Your act of remembrance will ensure that the great achievements of an earlier generation are not forgotten by their descendants alive today who daily benefit from their courage and sacrifice.

The memorial was constructed in early 2013 and is, inevitably, beginning to show its age. Over the next year, we will ensure it's restored to its former glory in good time for the 75th anniversary of D Day in June 2019.

[Map courtesy of Google Map Data 2017.]

As the custodian of the memorial on behalf of all who contributed to the 21,000 cost of its construction and the dedication ceremony, arrangements for its long term maintenance and development have exercised my mind for some years. Therefore, concurrent with the refurbishment, an informal group of interested people will help prepare plans from a menu of options including a standalone charitable trust or educational trust or something similar under the auspices of, for example, a military museum. If you have any expertise in these types of structure, please give us the benefit of your advice.

I do hope you enjoy your visit and if you wish to provide feedback we'll be very pleased to hear from you.

Have a nice day!

Geoffrey Slee

Geoff Slee

 ~ Preparing for Your Visit ~ 

The National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) is a special place of remembrance for an ever increasing number of people and a fascinating destination for everyone. If you've not been before, check out what facilities, information and help are available to get the most from your visit.

The Combined Operations Memorial is a good 10 minute walk from the visitor centre but, for the less ambulant, there are electric scooters, wheelchairs (recommend pre-booking to avoid disappointment) and golf style buggies. You'll find up to date information on these and other facilities on the NMA website at http://www.thenma.org.uk/plan-your-visit/

[Aerial view of the NMA, courtesy of Google Earth.]

The memorial is located in a tranquil corner of the Arboretum down by the River Tame where there are several wooden benches nearby, some of which are in the photo at the top of this page. The lovely open view of the River Tame and its wildlife, is, during the growing season, obscured by tall nettles growing along the river bank. That apart, on a nice day, this area is an ideal setting for a picnic or a place for quiet reflection. However, there's not much shelter in the area, so it's advisable to go prepared if the weather forecast is poor.

~ Feedback

For over two years after the dedication ceremony in July 2013, our small band of dedicated volunteers maintained the memorial to a good standard. However, early in 2016, due to changes in the personal circumstances of some volunteers, we were unable to continue and approached the NMA's grounds curator for assistance with maintenance. Maintenance agreements are widely available but, inexplicably, over 18 months later, not even a draft agreement has yet been received.

[Photo; Geoff Slee with wife, Margaret, at the memorial on 09/11/17.]

We're now very much dependent on the NMA authorities for keeping the memorial and its surroundings in good shape. The remaining members of our maintenance volunteers continue to undertake monitoring visits but your feedback, be it praiseworthy, critical or neutral, will be warmly welcomed and greatly appreciated at anytime.

Please send your comments and photos from your mobile device, camera or computer to geoffslee@blueyonder.co.uk . Close-ups of anything of concern and general views, will be most welcome. In any event, we'll be happy to add, to this webpage, a commemorative photo (larger and hopefully more imaginative than ours!) of your visit including a reasonable amount of text.

Our aim is to maintain the memorial to a standard that is acceptable to you and respectful to the memory of our WW2 veterans, whom the memorial honours and represents. We've not been unable to achieve this during the 18 month hiatus mentioned above and we apologise to anyone who was saddened or offended by the apparent lack of care and diligence. While there are some positive developments in the pipeline, until the elusive maintenance agreement is in place, any improvements will be fragile. There are indications that a draft agreement will be prepared around the turn of the year.

 ~ Memorial Condition Report ~    

1. Dedication Plaque.

The dedication plaque looks fine but we'll restore it to its original condition by removing a liquid glue stain down one side.

2. Mosaic.

We will seek the services of a professional to advise us on the condition of the mosaic and to undertake restoration work if required. Photos of the damage sustained over several years have been sent to the manufacturer for his perusal. He will undertake a site visit in 2018.

3. Information Display Board.

A new information display was put in place on 9/11/17. It's an improvement in design, content and construction over the original display.

The background colours are symbolic of land, sea and air forces - the very essence of Combined Operations. From bottom right to top left, sandy landing beaches, white breakers, dark blue sea, white clouds and light blue sky. Click on thumbnail to enlarge.

Photo (Nov 2017) - the new display in position. .

4. Trees.

All the trees are thriving. However, we'll seek advice from the NMA to see if anything can be done to encourage upward growth of the Sitka Spruce now the tree is well established.

5. Grass.

The grass has recently improved and is now healthy and luscious as in the above photo. The area around the memorial will be fully restored to a high standard when a strip of uneven ground, possibly caused by a heavy vehicle running over the area, is levelled off and other undulations filled in. The dip in the ground is difficult to see and is a potential danger, particularly to those using mobility scooters or walking aids. The NMA planned to undertake this work during the next year or so but have recently indicated it will be undertaken in a matter of weeks. Meantime, please be careful while walking in this area.

Photo (July 2016) - a rather forlorn landscape with poorly cut grass and a backdrop of nettles along the river bank.

6. Riverbank Nettles.

The nettles have died down with the approach of winter and the open view of the river has been partially restored. Of course, the view of the river is of greatest value to visitors during the warmer months. The management of the nettles in this area will be raised with the Arboretum authorities at the start of the 2018 growing season or on receipt of their draft maintenance agreement, whichever comes first.

In addressing NMA erosion and safety concerns, we believe that the nettles will continue to grow with their root systems intact if cut down to, say, 12 inches. At that height, they would still be effective in preventing erosion and acting as a barrier to river access. This is particularly the case where the sloping bank is covered in nettles that would scarcely be affected by the proposed trimming work. We would prefer the nettles to be cut back on a regular basis as part of a maintenance agreement. This would immediately enhance the appearance of the memorial and the amenity of the area more generally.

7. Paving Slabs.

A quote of 360 including VAT has been accepted to replace all the existing grout with Marshall's Weatherpoint 365. It hardens to the concrete equivalent of a 4:1 mix and should be resistant to cleaning with a pressure hose. This work will be carried out at the convenience of the contractor, Scott Developments.

8. Lichen.

The lichen on the paved area is very slippery underfoot especially when wet and we'll seek to have it removed when necessary as part of the maintenance agreement. Accepting that lichen should be removed from the paved area, dedication plaque, mosaic and information display, the question is; does it enhance the appearance of the remainder of the structure or is it an indication of neglect and disrespect? If you have an opinion, please let us know what you think using the 'Contact Us' link in the page banner.

News & Information

 

Memorial Maintenance

We have a small band of volunteers who take turns to visit the memorial each month, particularly during the growing season, to undertake routine maintenance such as weeding keeping the stones and slabs clear of bird dropping, lichen etc. and reporting on any issues. If you live near the National Memorial Arboretum and would like to find out more, please contact us.

Remember a Veteran

You can pay a personal tribute to veterans who served in, or alongside, the Combined Operations Command in WW2 by adding their details and optional photo to our Roll of Honour and They Also Served pages on this website.

Read the Combined Operations prayer.

Events and Places to Visit

To organisers: Reach the people who will be interested to know about your Combined Operations or war related event by adding it to our  webpage free of charge.

To everyone else: Visit our webpage for information on events and places to visit. If you know of an event or place of interest, that is not listed, please let us know.

To notify an event or place of interest, click here.

To visit the webpage click here.

Facebook

Why not join the thousands who visit our Facebook page about the Combined Operations Command in appreciation of our WW2 veterans.

See the 'slide shows' of the dedication ceremony and the construction of the memorial plus the 'On this day in 194?' feature where major Combined Ops events are highlighted on their anniversary dates with links to additional information.

You are welcome to add information, photos and comment or reply to messages posted by others.

Find Books of Interest 

Search for Books direct from our Books page. Don't have the name of a book in mind? Just type in a keyword to get a list of possibilities... and if you want to purchase you can do so on line through the Advanced Book Exchange (ABE). 5% commission goes into the memorial fund.

WW2 Combined Operations Handbook

This handbook was prepared for Combined Operations in the Far East. It illustrates the depth and complexity of the planning process necessary to ensure that the 3 services worked together as a unified force.

Restoration of Geoffrey Appleyard's  Memorial 

Click on the image if you'd like to contribute to the improvement of the memorial to Geoffrey Appleyard, DSO, MC and Bar, through the purchase of a limited edition print of a book about him. Geoffrey achieved so much in service with No 7 Commando, No 62 Commando, the Small Scale Raiding Force and the Second SAS Regiment. He was posted Missing in Action in July 1943, aged 26.

www.bramleywarmemorial.com/major-geoffrey-appleyard-book-now-available-for-purchase/

The Gazelle Helicopter Squadron Display Team

The Gazelle Squadron is a unique team of ex-British Military Gazelle helicopters in their original military colours and with their original military registrations. The core team includes four Gazelles, one from each service; The Royal Navy, The Royal Marines, The Army Air Corps and The Royal Air Force. A fifth Gazelle in Royal Marines colours will provide intimate support for the team. Their crest includes the Combined Operations badge. The last, and possibly, only time the badge was seen on an aircraft was in the early mid 40s. A photo of the Hurricane concerned is included in the 516 Squadron webpage.

Legasee Film Archive

As part of an exciting social history project, the film company Legasee is looking for veterans from any conflict who would like to have their stories filmed for posterity. Films are now available on line. www.legasee.org.uk

New to Combined Ops?

Visit Combined Operations Explained for an easy introduction to the subject.

About Us?

Background to the website and memorial project, and a look to the future; plus other small print stuff and website accounts etc. Click here for information.

 

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