HMS GANGES

MEMORIAL

AT THE NATIONAL ARBORETUM

Hello.  I do think it rather a pity that this monument is not available to view on the internet.  The internet can do one of two basic tasks namely that it can whet ones appetite into actually going to see the place of homage, or it can bring that place of homage to those, who for whatever reason are unable to travel and visit it personally.

It cannot be found on its owners site, the Royal British Legion, not even by name never mind a photograph.  Nor can it be found on the HMS Ganges Association web site or the HMS Ganges Museum Website where its absence is total, except that there is mention under Activities that Brian Coward is the activity representative for the Memorial.

It is however, on the old HMS Ganges Association website, the one constructed by the erstwhile and much missed Clive Watts, but that site will eventually disappear from view probably early in the new year of 2010 on its first anniversary of being unvisited by its webmaster and therefore considered abandoned.

What follows on this page is copied from Clive's excellent site. I have another page on this site  into which I have copied Clive's salutation to HMS Ganges' Victoria Cross holders, yet another subject ignored by the current webmaster post February 2009.

Here then is an excellent description of our Memorial as explained by Brian Coward, who for a long time gave it his best shot and came up with a Memorial of which we are so proud.

THE H.M.S. GANGES MEMORIAL

After what has seemed - to me - to be a very long while, I am extremely pleased to report that the HMS GANGES MEMORIAL is completed. This is what it looks like.

 

It is sited at The National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire which is now run by The Royal British Legion (who took over from the originators of the idea about two years ago). It is on a 150 acre site that is devoted to the remembrance of those who have served, died or suffered in the service of their Country. Additionally, the Arboretum is there to commemorate those for whom it is appropriate, for specific reasons, to be remembered. The latter allows for individual memorials / trees to be erected/planted. All of the armed forces are represented in a variety of forms. Many ships' Associations have planted trees with an appropriate plaque. Many Army Regiments have their own memorials. Additionally, many civilian organisations and individuals too are commemorated. At the latest count, there are 120 major memorials, together with over 44,000 trees, many individually dedicated. I personally recommend that - if possible - you visit the site. For those not able to physically go, then have a look at their website to get a feel for what is there. This can be found at: <http://www.thenma.org.uk>

The H.M.S. GANGES MEMORIAL is sited at the back of the Royal Naval area, which adjoins the Merchant Naval area. Its actual position is at the end of a row of Merchant Naval shipping lines memorials.

It has been created with 'symbolism' in mind. The flatbed memorial has Four Main corner Stones, which have been obtained from (Clockwise from front left), Scotland (Cromar Lightning), Wales (Plum Slate), Ireland (Irish Quartzite) and England (Green Lakeland Slate). Each of these stones has a national floral emblem sculpted into it. These are: Scotland - Thistle, Wales - Daffodil, Ireland - Shamrock and England - Rose. The selection of these stones represents the fact that The Boys came from all over the United Kingdom (thus stones from the four main countries). The Main plinth, sited at the back in the centre is a piece of White Portland Stone onto which is carved the H.M.S. Ganges crest and below that, the words:

"THIS MEMORIAL IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF ALL WHO PASSED THROUGH H.M.S GANGES AT SHOTLEY IN SUFFOLK BETWEEN THE YEARS 1905 AND 1976."

The edging of the memorial is constructed of Staffordshire Blue Bricks, raised a little above ground level. Within the inner floor of the memorial is scattered a Greeny/Bluey (colour dependent upon the light/weather etc.) Shale. This represents The Sea!

A brief write up of the function and history of H.M.S. Ganges (as a Shore Establishment training Boys for the Royal Navy) has been provided to The National Memorial Arboretum. This will be included within their guide in order that readers are aware of what this memorial commemorates.

The Memorial has been constructed so that it should be 'maintenance free', with the wind and rain carrying out cleaning duties for us. It had to be this way because we will all be gone in the not too distant future! Organising 'Cooks of The Mess' was just not practical!

Planning is in hand for a Dedication Ceremony to be held at The Arboretum for the Memorial. It will not be until - at the very earliest - 2008 and then, probably when the good weather is with us!!. The H.M.S. GANGES Association's Committee have this task in hand and details will promulgated when arrangements are made.

I trust the above gives all readers an insight into what I have been up to over the last three years. Personally, it has been for me, a very interesting time, allowing me to rub shoulders and talk to, craftsmen whom I would never have met had it not been for this project.

As an ex-Ganges Boy, I am proud to have been instrumental in the creation of this memorial, which will ensure that long after we have gone, the memorial will let people of future generations know that H.M.S. Ganges was there and served its country well.


 
THEY WILL REMEMBER US!


Brian Coward <Bdotdotcguin@aol.com>
 

In the coming weeks, hopefully before the end of November 2009,  I hope to publish a short video of the Memorial on this page.

Today is the 28th of November 2009 and yesterday, Friday the 27th, I visited the National Memorial Arboretum [NMA] to take the short movie I promised above. However, my visit merits a new page of its own and so please click HERE to view that page.