SVA badge  

The First Suez Veterans Memorial
at the
National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire.

The start and some update details.

In 2003 a suggestion was made by Suez Veteran Harold Heath to the Committee of the Suez Veterans Association that a Memorial to those who lost their lives in the Canal Zone should be built at the National Memorial Arboretum.  After much discussion Harold was given the job of submitting some designs with costs and making preliminary arrangements with the Arboretum management of the time.  Things progressed well, donations were received which increased the amount the SVA had pledged, a plot was obtained and preparation work began.  The memorial was unveiled at a dedication service held at the Arboretum on the 13th March 2004.

The service was taken by Rev Arthur Clarke, himself a Suez Veteran, (Ex Corporal, Cheshire Regiment,) and about 300 Suez Vets and family members were in
attendance.  Others officiating at the service were: Ron Watt, (Ex RAF Police,) John Dwyer, (Ex 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment,) Tony Rigden, (Ex RAF Signals,) and Dennis Sanders, (Ex Royal Army Veterinary Corps.)  A wreath was laid by John Davis, (Ex 16th Para Brigade,) and Jeff Malone, (Ex RAF) played the Last Post.

The plot is at the corner of two walkways and consists of a pyramid shaped Memorial Plinth. 

This photo was taken in 2003 and shows the site before any work started on the Memorial Plot.
The original idea was to convert the ditch into a 'Canal' but the Arboretum governing body would not allow it,
therefore it was filled-in.  Three quarters of the plot was covered in sand to represent the desert and and a
narrow 'Canal' was made out of blue glass chippings, the fourth quarter is grassed over on which there are now
two seats that have been donated.  There is a small display frame containg some sand that was collected from
the British Military Cemetery at Moascar and brought back by a Suez Veteran who had been on one of the visits.
Four small palm trees were planted and these have survived the winters and are growing.
One unforseen problem was that of rabbits trying to burrow into the sand and spreading
the blue chippings, they were foiled by a mesh membrane a few inches below the surface but
they did make a mess and this resulted in frequent tidying up and maintenance being necessary.
As time passed, and money became available, various alterations were made to the plot.
Discussions have recently started on re-designing, or how best to improve, the whole plot so that it looks
smarter and almost maintenance free.

This photo of the Memorial Plinth, surrounded by sand, was taken on the day of dedication.

  The Memorial Plaque
SVA badge
This memorial is dedicated to the
Service Personnel
who served in the
Canal Zone of Egypt
and is a tribute to
those who died in the
course of their duty.
1939 - 1956

These two photos were taken in June 2007 after some sand coloured paving slabs had been laid.

In April 2009 more paving slabs were laid.

During early 2011 the sand was removed and replaced with more paving slabs. The 'Canal' was also renovated.

The Memorial Plot has had a complete refurbishment since these photos were taken and the page added to the website.
A Commemorative Service at the Memorial was held on the 31st March 2012.

New-Mem  to view the page of details and photos of the new Memorial and the Commemorative Service.  

Click HERE to return to the 'INDEX' page.

Webmaster:  Richard (Dick) Woolley

e-mail:  [email protected]

Keep the flag flying.