Visit to the National Memorial Arboretum

Fourteen members met at the Arboretum on 11th June, a glorious Sunday afternoon, and were greeted by Ann Knowling who gave a brief introductory talk. Leading the party to the Chapel she explained the symbolism shown in the carvings and other items on display. Once outside we were taken via the "Police Beat" avenue to the "Shot at Dawn" grove, a powerful reminder of the brutality of the First World War. Then, after a search in the undergrowth, to our own Civic Society tree - an Ornamental Cherry which was in a sorry state, having been attacked by Winter Moth. We have since been told that it will be treated with a systemic spray that should restore it to health.

We then returned to the Visitor Centre via the river bank walk where we were treated to a fly-over by the RAF Battle of Britain Flight who were on their way back to base from the Cosford Air Display. After a break for refreshments at the Visitor Centre a brief visit was made to the Burma Railway area and the very moving Far Eastern Prisoner of War Museum.

Finally our Chairman, Tony Crookes, and Secretary, Peter Dodd, were presented with Veteran's Medals which all ex-servicemen are entitled to wear.

There is much more to see at this vast site, but it is pleasing to note the improvements that have taken place since the British Legion took over responsibility. This was a wonderfully interesting afternoon; thanks to Ann, our knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide.

Peter Dodd
June 2006