National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire.
The start and
some update details.
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.
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.
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.
of the Memorial Plinth, surrounded by sand, was taken on the day of
This memorial is dedicated to the
who served in the
Canal Zone of Egypt
and is a tribute to
those who died in the
course of their duty.
1939 - 1956
photos were taken in June 2007 after some sand coloured paving slabs
had been laid.
2009 more paving slabs were laid.
early 2011 the sand was removed and replaced with more paving slabs.
The 'Canal' was also renovated.
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.
to view the page of details and photos of the new Memorial and the