~ 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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 Hundreds of thousands of visits each year to 200  web pages & 3000 photos.  News & information at the bottom of this and every web page.

If you wish to show your appreciation for those who served the Allied cause in WW2, please 'like' the Combined Ops Facebook page.

~ VISITING THE MEMORIAL ~

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

Your act of remembrance will ensure that the great achievements of an earlier generation are not forgotten by their descendants 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 Data 2017.]

If you'd like to delve more deeply into the history of the project or to see a photographic record of the memorial's design, development, construction and dedication, please visit the Memorial Index page.

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.

You'll find up to date information on the NMA website at... http://www.thenma.org.uk/plan-your-visit/

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

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.

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 2 years later, not even a draft agreement has been received.

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 (if any) 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.

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

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 2 year 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.

 ~ Memorial Condition Report ~    

1. Dedication Plaque.

The dedication plaque is in good order.

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.

The effects of near drought conditions over recent months will be assessed on the next site visit in the autumn of 2018. Hopefully, the proximity of the memorial to the river will have afforded the trees some protection.

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. Please be careful while walking in this area.

6. Riverbank Nettles.

The open view of the river and beyond was restored when the nettles died down during the winter months. Of course, the view of the river is of greatest value to visitors during the warmer months. We requested that the nettles be cut back in the run up to D Day and Remembrance Sunday as a matter of respect to our veterans.

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. 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.

The paving slabs were re-grouted early in 2018 at a cost of 400. The work was carried out by Scott Developments. [Photo opposite].

8. Lichen.

Lichen was removed from the paved area as part of the grouting work. [Photo opposite].

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 (click on icon above) 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 LCT 7074 - Crowd Funding

I'm very happy to tell our Combined Ops friends about the efforts of the National Museum of the Royal Navy to restore Landing Craft Tank 7074 (LCT 7074) and to put her on permanent display. The vital role of thousands of landing craft in WW2, their brave crews and equally brave troops they carried, will more readily be understood and remembered by generations to come through such a rare and iconic craft. You can donate to their crowd-funding effort at the link below. No donation is too small. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lct-7074

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.

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/

Legasee Film Archive

As part of an exciting social history project, the film company Legasee has recorded interviews with veterans from any conflicts. These  films are now available on line. www.legasee.org.uk

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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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