The New Suez Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffordshire.

The Making, Installing and Dedication.

As most of you will know, it was decided some time ago that the SVA Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas needed some refurbishment as it was getting into an untidy state.

These alterations are due to the frequent high maintenance it has required in the past, much of which was left to a small number of Suez Vets who lived within striking distance and who went every so often to generally make it look tidy by removing the weeds growing through the sand, sweeping the sand to make it look tidier by getting rid of the footprints where people had walked all over it, filing in the holes where rabbits had tried to burrow and smoothing the blue glass chippings which made up the ‘Canal’. (The rabbits also used to scratch at the chippings in the canal and spread them all over the sand.) After a period of time and because of its construction the ‘Pyramid’ used to get patches of mould and moss growth which didn’t look good, so every springtime it had to be cleaned off and re-painted with a sand coloured stone paint. If the SVA members did not go and spend time doing this it would have to be done by the Arboretum maintenance staff and that would be costly.
It was decided that for the future the Memorial should be altered in such a way it would be low maintenance. In a few years’ time there will very few members, if any, who will be able to carry out the maintenance required.  Ideas were asked for and some interesting designs and suggestions came forward from the members, some of these were good but would be too expensive to carry out, some were impractical and others were acceptable.
However, the Arboretum Grounds Committee is very strict in the design of plots, the lay-out, what is installed and what materials can be used etc. Even notices have to be at a certain height and sloping at a specified angle. They turned down most of the suggested designs and after consultation within both organisations, SVA Member Brian Watts, (who has done a brilliant job,) acting as co-ordinator and one design was agreed upon which suited the Arboretum and the Association. (I think it was a mixture of two designs.)
It is felt that the end result will be an attractive, informative, long lasting Memorial and a fitting tribute to those who we left behind.

Work started towards the end of February and the following photos were taken at intervals as preparations and work progressed.

Shuttering moulds for the pyramid and base and the cross in the workshop where Brian Watts and his working partner Joe Springthorpe did most of the preparation.

Work has started and shown here are the base for the new Pyramid and the base for the new Memorial Cross. 

                           Busy lads working on the plot and the Palm Tree that had to be transplanted.

Two more pics taken during the alterations.

The new Memorial Cross, with attached sword, and the new Pyramid.

The re-dedication of the Memorial took place on Saturday 31st March 2012.  Starting with a simple service at 12.00 noon in the marquee and presentations given to a number of people who had been involved with the design and building of the plot, -
Dick Watts (Site Contractor) - Adrian Erwee (Structural Engineer) - Carl Barnes (Material Supplier) - Haydon Collings (Stone Castings) - Joe Springthorpe (Formwork and Sword)  and Cdr Charles Bagot Jewitt DL. RN.Rtd (Chief Executive N.M.A)

Over 40 Standard Bearers paraded and around 500 visitors
were in attendance and many Veterans took part in the parade where Cdr Charles Bagot Jewitt took the salute.  Everything ran smoothly and it was a day that everyone enjoyed.
A Presentation was given to Brian Watts that evening at the Gala Dinner at the hotel where around 80 members had stayed for the Spring Reunion weekend.  

The new Pyramid and Cross.

Some of the Suez Vets who were on parade.

Two of the Standard Bearers.
Monty Murrell (L) - London & SE Group Standard.
Bill Lowe (R)  - National SVA Standard.

Some more of the Standard Bearers who took part.

  Some sorting out being done before the re-dedication.

The wreaths laid at the foot of the Cross.

March-past parade led by Pipe Major Donald Jarrom.
Salute taken by Cdr. Charles Bagot Jewitt DL. RN. Rtd.

  Some of the Standard Bearers again.

"Eyes Right" passing the saluting base.

The map display on a front corner of the plot.

The information sign giving details
of why we were there.

A quantity of sand brought back from the
Moascar Cemetery is on display in a container
fastened to a side of the pyramid.

Three photos of the new plot sent in by Brian (Mo) Watts.

This photo sent in by Bernard Arnold.
Two photos were sent in by Alan Clarke.

The nine photos in this frame were sent in by David Evans.

Members discussing the map notice.

One of the wreaths being laid.
(Note the escort Cadets salute!!)

The Rev Arthur Clarke getting things organised.

Tony Tolan reciting his poem
 'Far Away in a Foreign Land'.

Three more general photos taken on the day.

A general view during the service at the plot.

Getting ready.

Bill Lowe, the SVA Standard Bearer on duty at the Memorial.
(We regret that Bill is now deceased.)

The following 9 photos were taken and supplied by member Ian Wilson.

A view inside the marquee before the initial service.

SVA Chairman Ron Watt welcoming everyone to the re-dedication.

The Parade Piper - Pipe Major Donald Jarrom.

Another view inside the marquee

Visitors leaving the marquee after the service.

Veterans on Parade, - and all in step !

These four photos were taken by Cedric Barker on 17th June when there were not so many people about.

Three views of the National Memorial Monument

All photos on this page relate to the refurbished plot and the re-dedication.
Click HERE to return to the 'INDEX' page.

Webmaster:  Richard (Dick) Woolley

e-mail:  [email protected]
Keep the flag flying