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HRH The Princess Royal to dedicate Armed Forces Memorial

Friday, 17th October 2008

HRH The Princess Royal to dedicate Armed Forces Memorial

HRH The Princess Royal will dedicate a memorial in the Abbey’s South Cloister later this month to commemorate all those in the British armed forces who have died in conflicts throughout the world since the Second World War.

The Abbey’s Surveyor of the Fabric John Burton said:

My brief to the artist Tom Phillips was to make it hard to find the words - so that people will think more deeply about the message.

The Armed Forces Memorial in South Cloister will be dedicated on 29th October and will complement the National Memorial Arboretum, a 150-acre site near Lichfield in Staffordshire which was opened last year by HM The Queen.

The memorials are the first to commemorate members of the Armed Forces killed on duty or as a result of terrorist action since the end of the Second World War.

Some 16,000 members of the Armed Forces have been killed on duty in the 60 years since the end of the Second World War. In many cases there is no memorial at all, or at least none that can be reached easily. The Armed Forces Memorial will provide a focus to recognise and commemorate those who have been killed in the service of their country.

The Armed Forces memorial Trust is also funding two new Rolls of Honour, similar to those for the Royal Air Force held in the Church of St Clement Danes. They will be kept in the Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields for the Royal Navy and in the Chapel of the Royal Hospital Chelsea for the Army.

After the dedication and the service which follows, The Princess Royal will meet relatives of members of the forces killed in action - including the family of 51-year-old Senior Aircraftsman who became Britain’s oldest frontline casualty when he was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in April this year.

Admission to this Service is by invitation only.

The biggest challenge we face is actually time – getting all our work done alongside the daily routine of the Abbey as a working church, visitor attraction and home to 1,000 years of history.

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