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Falklands 30 - Falklands Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum

Published: 28 Oct 2011

The South Atlantic Medal Association (1982) Trustees agreed at their meeting on 29th July 2010 to construct a Falklands War Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) in Staffordshire. The memorial will be constructed on the SAMA(82) site by Young Johnson, Monumental Masons of Westbury, an experienced company who have built a number of outstanding military memorials in the NMA. The dedication ceremony planned for 20th May 2012 will commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Task Force landings on the Falkland Islands in 1982.

The Memorial proposal has been submitted to the NMA. The proposal needs to be formally approved by the NMA Trustees in April, however neither the Chief Executive nor the Curator have any changes to suggest and feel it will make a valuable contribution to the Arboretum, being an attraction in its own right.

The Falklands Memorial will be distinctive by reflecting the Falklands' landscape. It will be a memorial that veterans and their families deserve, and inform visitors of this important event in our history. The design and construction will be based on the memorial and cemetery at 'Blue Beach' San Carlos, where the landings took place, by imitating the wall of memorial plaques on a smaller scale.

Whilst many Falklands' veterans and their families have visited the San Carlos Memorial during the major pilgrimages and personal visits, the majority have not had this opportunity and are unlikely to in the future. By creating a similar atmosphere in the NMA, it is hoped that veterans and their families will feel it is somewhere in the UK where they can connect with the Falklands and feel at peace.

The Memorial will comprise a curved stone wall approximately 30ft wide by 7ft high in the centre, sloping down to 4ft at both ends, constructed in rough Cotswold stone blockwork. Two stone buttresses on the rear will provide the necessary stability. A rock from the Falkland Islands approximately 3ft high by 4ft wide by 5ft long will be placed 20-25ft in front of the Wall. The source and type of rock is currently being explored with the Falkland Islands Government. Two benches with Granite seating on Cotswold supports will be placed on either side, between the Rock and the Wall. The area enclosed by the Wall, Rock and Benches will be paved with natural paving to define the Memorial space.

A number of engraved Granite plaques will be mounted on the Wall, Rock and paving. Granite will ensure that the engravings do not deteriorate over time. The Wall front will have seven plaques reflecting the San Carlos design. The Main Plaque, in the centre, will be flanked on each side by three smaller plaques, and comprise an engraved Joint Service Operations crest over an inscription using similar wording as at San Carlos. The six flanking plaques will each be engraved with a crest of the participating military and civilian forces: Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army, Royal Air Force, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Merchant Navy. A Dedication Plaque will be set below the Main Plaque. A circular plaque depicting the South Atlantic Medal will be placed on the rear of the wall, below this will be a small plaque stating that the Memorial was commissioned by SAMA(82).

The Falkland Islands Rock will be the entrance point for visitors to the Memorial space. A plaque mounted on the front will comprise an outline map of the Falkland Islands with, above the map, the words 'Falkland Islands 1982' and below the map 'From the Sea - Freedom'. The rear will have a matching plaque to remember the three Falkland Islanders who lost their lives.

A Granite Plaque will be set into the paving stones in front of the Wall. It will show an outline map of the Atlantic Ocean with broad arrows showing the distances from UK and Gibraltar to Ascension Island and the Falkland Islands. South Georgia will also be shown. This plaque will inform visitors where the islands are in the world, and the vast distances the Task Force sailed before engaging in combat with the Argentine Forces.

This is an exciting project which will provide a memorial that Falklands' veterans and their families will feel is theirs, and visitors to the National Memorial Arboretum will expect to see.

A fund raising programme is already under way - we need to raise in the region of £75,000!

Anyone who would like more information about the project should contact the SAMA office in UK - +44 1495 791592 or by email - mainofficesama@aol.co.uk

Provided by Robin Smith - computer generated images of the proposed memorial.

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