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
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
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
HERE to view that page.