~ VISITING THE MEMORIAL ~
On this page;
Preparation Condition Report
Index of all Memorial Pages
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
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
Photo August 2013 - a few weeks after the dedication
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
For over two years
after the dedication ceremony in July 2013, our small band of
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
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
your comments and photos
from your mobile device, camera
or computer to
. Close-ups of anything of concern and general views, will be most
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.