Every year we are rightly reminded of the tremendous sacrifices made by men and women during the two World Wars that disfigures the 20th century. However, it is widely accepted that there has been insufficient recognition of the men and women of our Armed and Merchant Services who have lost their lives in conflict, as a result of terrorist action or on training exercises since the end of the Second World War. Unlike the World War memorials in towns and villages across the nations, there is nowhere that records the 16,000 names of those who have been killed in duty since 1948.
During this period the men and women of the Armed forces and Merchant Services have taken part in more that 50 operations and conflicts across the world, often as part of United Nations, NATO or other international coalitions. these actions have ranged from hot war to peacekeeping from humanitarian assistance to fighting terrorism, from the jungles of Malaysia to the storms of the South Atlantic, from the streets of Aden to the Streets of Northern Ireland also in Korea and Suez.It is not just Service men and women who have made sacrifices. Behind every name on the memorial there are the wives, husbands, partners, parents, children and colleagues who loved them and who live with the pain and consequences of their loss every day.
Having visited the Arboretum and spent some time looking at the many plaques and memorials, I could only find one mention of our ship, HMS Cardigan Bay, and that was very small and buried amongst other ships names and even then, one of many inscribed on a rather large metal plate. I don't know about you but having seen so many other plaques with ships names on, I wondered why we didn't have one, together with a bench, just like all the others shown in the following picture’s. I hope you like the pictures and that they give you an idea of what the arboretum is all about.
The Chapel in the arboretum where a daily service is held at 11-00 every morning. This is well attended every day by those who have lost someone or those who are just visiting the memorial.
These are the two sets of figures which are inside and situated either side of the memorial walls.
On the opposite walls there are the names of 16,000 who have fallen and there is room for another 16,000 more. The names of last years fallen heroes will also be added.
British Legion Memorial
HMS Cardigan Bay.
On Tuesday 8th September 2009 members of the HMS Cardigan Bay attended the dedication service of a seat which has been installed at the Arboretum to commemorate all those who had served on HMS Cardigan Bay between 1945 and 1962. The service was conducted by Pastor Paul Owen, a Chaplain at the Arboretum, and was attended by over 40 members of the HMS Cardigan Bay Association including our own Admiral, Shipmate Richard Hill and his wife Patricia. Also in attendance as guests were Captain Nigel Jones of the RFA Cardigan Bay and his wife Susan.
The Seat and plaque, which were purchased from money raised by donations from members and non members of the HMS Cardigan Bay Association. This seat will preserve the name of HMS Cardigan Bay and all those who served in her for years to come so our grandchildren and great grandchildren will be able to learn of what we did, where we went in the service of our King, our Queen and our Country.