RAF Coastal Command

On 16th March 2004 Queen Elizabeth II dedicated a memorial in the south cloister of Westminster Abbey to RAF Coastal Command. A relief carving in light grey Carrara marble depicts the sky and sea, with the sky overlaying an outline of the world set above a breaking sea and separated by a horizon line (of great importance to flyers). An eagle at top left symbolises mastery of the skies. Cut in the wall below is the badge of Coastal Command and motto "Constant Endeavour" with the inscription:

Remember the sacrifice & constant endeavour in defence of freedom of the men and women of Royal Air Force Coastal Command, their successors & their comrades in the Commonwealth, Allied and overseas squadrons

The memorial was carved by Neil and Richard Talbot and the artistic adviser was Sir Philip Dowson of the Maritime Air Trust. The span is approximately eight feet. A roll of honour is displayed in a case in the nave of the Abbey.

It was unveiled to mark the 60th anniversary in 2003 of the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic during the Second World War. Just over half of the sinkings of German U-boats were due to Coastal Command and it located the battleship Bismarck which was then sunk by the Royal Navy. Photo-reconnaissance and meteorological flights were also an important part of their role as well as air-sea rescue. Their zone of operations was vast, from Iceland to Gibraltar and the Azores as well as other overseas commands from the Arctic to the southern oceans. Four Victoria Crosses were won by aircrew and 10,875 lives were lost. Since the Second World War Coastal Command and its successor formations have operated in conflicts in Korea, Malaysia, the Falklands and the Gulf.

Further reading

Two DVDs have been issued: "Coastal Command at War" and "RAF Coastal Command - the unseen films"


16th March 2004




South Cloister

Memorial Type


Material Type


RAF Coastal Command
RAF Coastal Command memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster