Liam O’Connor Architects won a competition to design this memorial which has since become the central feature of the National Memorial Arboretum. It was designed to commemorate the sacrifice made by members of the British Armed Forces since the end of the Second World War whilst on active duty around the world. Half the memorial walls have names carved into the stone walls whilst half the memorial walls remain empty.
The memorial comprises a landscaped hill rising from the lowest part of the site with a spiral path around the edges lined with evergreen oak trees. At the top is a circular stone structure with two sculpture groups, a central bronze wreath and a stone obelisk at the eastern end of the memorial where there is a commanding view over the surrounding countryside.
‘‘The memorial’s creator architect Liam O’Connor was inspired by prehistoric Britain and ancient Rome. The memorial sits on a six metre high earth mound, 100 metres wide at the base reducing to 50 metres at the top, which is based on early British barrows. At the top stands a 43 metre diameter stone structure.’’
THE ARMED FORCES MEMORIAL,
The We chose a site that frequently floods so that when local rivers burst their banks it becomes an ‘Isle of the Dead’ – inspired by Arnold Böcklin’s famous painting of that name from the nineteenth century. Safe access is along a memorial causeway that links back to a public facilities and a visitor centre.
‘‘The magnificence of this new memorial will, at long last, provide a fitting recognition for all those killed on duty since the end of the Second World War.’’
HRH The Prince of Wales, speech at the Armed Forces memorial inauguration.
25 September 2021
The magnificent Armed Forces Memorial has both resonated in the national consciousness and has provided extraordinary solace to the bereaved. The rise in visitor numbers to the National Memorial Arboretum, where it is located, from 60 000 to well over 300 000 per annum, is testament to the Memorial’s considerable and enduring appeal.
Charles Bagot Jewitt
National Memorial Arboretum