~ COMBINED OPERATIONS ~

WW2 land, sea and air forces of the Allied Nations planning, training and operating together as a unified force on amphibious raids and landings against the enemy.

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 Approaching 500k visits per year to 200  web pages & 3000 photos.  General information at the bottom of this and every web page.

Please show your appreciation for those who served the Allied cause in WW2 by 'liking' the Combined Ops Facebook page. Many thanks.

~ VISITING THE MEMORIAL ~

On this page; Preparation   Condition Report    Feedback    

Elsewhere on this website; Index of all Memorial Pages

 ~ Preparation

The National Memorial Arboretum (NMA) is a special place of remembrance for an ever increasing number of people and a fascinating destination for any traveller. If you've not been before, check out what facilities, information and help are available to get the most from your visit. The Combined Operations Memorial is a good 10 minute walk from the visitor centre but, for the less ambulant, there are electric scooters, wheelchairs (recommend pre-booking to avoid disappointment) and golf style buggies. You'll find up to date information on these and other facilities on the NMA website at http://www.thenma.org.uk/plan-your-visit/

Photo August 2013 - a few weeks after the dedication ceremony.

The CO memorial is located in a tranquil corner of the Arboretum down by the River Tame where there are several wooden benches nearby, some of which are in the photo above. The lovely open view of the River Tame and its wildlife, is presently obscured by tall nettles growing along the river bank. That apart, on a nice day, this area is an ideal setting for a picnic or a place for quiet reflection. However, there's not much shelter in the area, so it's advisable to go prepared if the weather forecast is poor.

 ~ Condition Report ~   (1/10/17 - Updated Monthly)

1. Information Display Board. The present information display comprises three plaques and a header. It's not weathered very well and will be replaced in a month or two by an improved design in the form of a single plaque. The background colours are symbolic of land, sea and air forces - the very essence of Combined Operations. From bottom right to top left, sandy landing beaches, white breakers, dark blue sea, white clouds and light blue sky. Click on thumbnail to enlarge.

2. Nettles and Other Tall Weeds.

            Photo (2012) - the memorial position marked out with the river behind.                          Photo (2014) - a young volunteer raking up loose grass after mowing.

The two photos above show the lovely open view of the river adjacent to the memorial and down river to the WW2 'pill box'. The open view is presently obscured by tall nettles and other weeds. The grounds curator advises that the Arboretum authorities have concerns over river bank erosion and health and safety issues if the nettles were cut back on a regular basis.

Photo (July 2016) - a rather forlorn landscape.

In our opinion, the nettles would continue to grow with their root systems intact so they would be no less effective in preventing erosion, or acting as a barrier to river access, than they are at the moment. This is particularly the case where the sloping bank is covered in nettles that would scarcely be affected by the proposed trimming work. We would prefer the nettles to be cut back to ground level on a regular basis as part of a maintenance agreement. This would immediately enhance the appearance of the memorial and the amenity of the area more generally.

3. Undulating Ground. There is a shallow groove in the grass to the front of the memorial consistent with a heavy vehicle driving over the area when the ground was wet. The dip in the ground is difficult to see and is a potential danger, particularly to those using mobility scooters or walking aids. The Arboretum authorities are aware and will level the ground when undertaking other landscaping work in the area during the next year or so. Meantime, please be careful and accept that the Arboretum ground staff may not be able to cut the grass uniformly in this uneven area, as the above photo illustrates. The grounds curator has been advised that we would prefer to see this work carried out as soon as possible, at our own expense, if necessary.

4. Infestation of Moles. On a visit to the memorial on 26th September 17, there were 6 or 7 molehills a few metres upstream of the memorial (to the right in the above photo). They're not affecting the memorial itself at the moment.

5. Paving Slabs. The grout between the slabs has become loose in some places. The grounds curator will arrange for a contractor to replace all existing grout with a polymer grout.

6. Loose Stone on the Mosaic Wall. The Arboretum authorities are aware.

7. Lichen. Leave or remove? Accepting that lichen should be removed from the dedication plaque, mosaic and information display, the question is; does it enhance the appearance of the remainder of the structure or is it an indication of neglect and disrespect? Help us decide what's best for the memorial by telling us what you think.

8. The trees. All the trees are thriving including the Sitka Spruce which has taken 3 or 4 years to establish itself. From a spindly, unhealthy looking sapling in the 2014 photo above, it's now bushy and strong.

9. The Mosaic. The mosaic's appearance has improved following re-grouting in 2016. It, the dedication plaque and information display will be maintained by our own volunteers. No maintenance work on these features will be undertaken by the Arboretum grounds staff.

~ Feedback

For over two years after the dedication ceremony in July 2013, our small band of dedicated volunteers maintained the memorial to a good standard. However, early in 2016, due to changes in the personal circumstances of some volunteers, we were unable to continue and approached the Arboretum's grounds curator for assistance. 18 months later no formal maintenance agreement has yet been received.

[Map courtesy of Google Map Data 2017.]

We're now very much dependent on the NMA authorities for keeping the memorial and its surroundings in good shape. The remaining members of our maintenance volunteers will undertake occasional monitoring visits but your feedback, be it praiseworthy, critical or neutral, will be warmly welcomed and greatly appreciated at anytime. As a reward for your trouble, we'll happily add a photo of your visit to this website in commemoration of a veteran of your choosing.

Please send your comments and photos from your mobile device, camera or computer to geoffslee@blueyonder.co.uk . Close-ups of anything of concern and general views, will be most welcome.

Our aim is to maintain the memorial to a standard that is acceptable to you and respectful to the memory of our WW2 veterans, whom the memorial honours and represents. We've not been unable to achieve this during the 18 month hiatus mentioned above and we apologise to anyone who was saddened or offended by the apparent lack of care and diligence. While there are some positive developments in the pipeline, until the elusive maintenance agreement is in place, any improvements will be fragile.

News & Information

 

Memorial Maintenance

We have a small band of volunteers who take turns to visit the memorial each month, particularly during the growing season, to undertake routine maintenance such as weeding keeping the stones and slabs clear of bird dropping, lichen etc. and reporting on any issues. If you live near the National Memorial Arboretum and would like to find out more, please contact us.

Remember a Veteran

You can pay a personal tribute to veterans who served in, or alongside, the Combined Operations Command in WW2 by adding their details and optional photo to our Roll of Honour and They Also Served pages on this website.

Read the Combined Operations prayer.

Events and Places to Visit

To organisers: Reach the people who will be interested to know about your Combined Operations or war related event by adding it to our  webpage free of charge.

To everyone else: Visit our webpage for information on events and places to visit. If you know of an event or place of interest, that is not listed, please let us know.

To notify an event or place of interest, click here.

To visit the webpage click here.

Facebook

Why not join the thousands who visit our Facebook page about the Combined Operations Command in appreciation of our WW2 veterans.

See the 'slide shows' of the dedication ceremony and the construction of the memorial plus the 'On this day in 194?' feature where major Combined Ops events are highlighted on their anniversary dates with links to additional information.

You are welcome to add information, photos and comment or reply to messages posted by others.

Find Books of Interest 

Search for Books direct from our Books page. Don't have the name of a book in mind? Just type in a keyword to get a list of possibilities... and if you want to purchase you can do so on line through the Advanced Book Exchange (ABE). 5% commission goes into the memorial fund.

WW2 Combined Operations Handbook

This handbook was prepared for Combined Operations in the Far East. It illustrates the depth and complexity of the planning process necessary to ensure that the 3 services worked together as a unified force.

Restoration of Geoffrey Appleyard's  Memorial 

Click on the image if you'd like to contribute to the improvement of the memorial to Geoffrey Appleyard, DSO, MC and Bar, through the purchase of a limited edition print of a book about him. Geoffrey achieved so much in service with No 7 Commando, No 62 Commando, the Small Scale Raiding Force and the Second SAS Regiment. He was posted Missing in Action in July 1943, aged 26.

www.bramleywarmemorial.com/major-geoffrey-appleyard-book-now-available-for-purchase/

The Gazelle Helicopter Squadron Display Team

The Gazelle Squadron is a unique team of ex-British Military Gazelle helicopters in their original military colours and with their original military registrations. The core team includes four Gazelles, one from each service; The Royal Navy, The Royal Marines, The Army Air Corps and The Royal Air Force. A fifth Gazelle in Royal Marines colours will provide intimate support for the team. Their crest includes the Combined Operations badge. The last, and possibly, only time the badge was seen on an aircraft was in the early mid 40s. A photo of the Hurricane concerned is included in the 516 Squadron webpage.

Legasee Film Archive

As part of an exciting social history project, the film company Legasee is looking for veterans from any conflict who would like to have their stories filmed for posterity. Films are now available on line. www.legasee.org.uk

New to Combined Ops?

Visit Combined Operations Explained for an easy introduction to the subject.

About Us?

Background to the website and memorial project, and a look to the future; plus other small print stuff and website accounts etc. Click here for information.

 

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