The National Memorial Arboretum is Britain's year-round national site of remembrance at Alrewas, near Lichfield, Staffordshire, United Kingdom. It is a spiritually uplifting place which honours the fallen, recognises service and sacrifice, and fosters pride in the British Armed Forces and civilian community.
At the heart of the Arboretum is the Armed Forces Memorial, which is a tribute to over 16,000 service personnel who have lost their lives in conflict or as a result of terrorism since the end of the Second World War. At 11 am on 11 November each year the sun shines through two slits in the outer and inner walls of the memorial, casting a shaft of light across a wreath in the centre. The Armed Forces Memorial was dedicated in October 2007 by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the presence of the Queen.
In 2017, after undergoing a large scale regeneration project, the Arboretum's new award-winning Remembrance Centre was officially opened by HRH The Duke of Cambridge on 23 March. Featuring three new exhibition galleries, larger restaurant and shop, separate coffee shop and a beautiful cloistered courtyard with garden, it provides visitors with facilities fitting that of a large scale visitor attraction.
The memorial is constructed from 30 metres of the original rails and sleepers used on the Burma Railway, which were brought to the arboretum from Thailand in HMS Northumberland in 2002. The memorial is a permanent tribute to those who were forced to construct the infamous ‘Railway of Death’ and the benches and trees around the railway track have relevant dedications. The memorial was dedicated on 15 August 2002.
Shot at Dawn
Main article: Shot at Dawn Memorial
During the First World War some 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers were shot for desertion or cowardice; the real cause for their offences was often a psychological reaction to the stresses of war which today would be diagnosed as post-traumatic stress syndrome or combat stress reaction. Shot at Dawn is modelled on Private Herbert Burden, of the 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, who was shot at Ypres in 1915 aged 17.