~ VISITING THE MEMORIAL ~
Photo August 2013 - a few weeks after the dedication
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 is
in the grounds of the National Memorial Arboretum which is 27 miles NNE of
Birmingham. It 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
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. Concurrent with the refurbishment, a steering
group of interested people will help prepare plans for the long term
future of the memorial and website. Options include 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
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!
Preparing for Your Visit ~
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
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
[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.
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
your comments and photos
from your mobile device, camera
or computer to
. 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.
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.
Information Display Board.
A new information display was put in place on 9/11/17. It's an improvement in design, content and construction
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. .
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.
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, weeds, uncollected grass cuttings and a backdrop of nettles along the river bank.
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.
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.
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
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.