A Memorial dedicated to those who gave their lives, and who fought in the operation to liberate Kuwait has been unveiled at the National Arboretum.
The Gulf War Memorial Trust Appeal raised funds to build the memorial which was unveiled at a ceremony on 28 February 2016.
A large donation was made by Kuwait, whose Ambassador Mr Khaked Al-Duwaisan spoke at the dedication: “We will never forget that you are the people who stood with us in those dark days. You are still with us and we are always with you.”
Memorial was designed by retired Senior Aircraftman Ian Beedles who said: “I
was asked by the organisers who knew I was pro everything to do with the Gulf
War and I was delighted to design it. I looked at a lot of ancient and modern
memorials and decided I wanted to do something to combine the two.
“When you look at the pillars from the side you see the ‘V’ identification sign [used to mark coalition forces]. The pillars themselves represent the three armed services and the distance from the peak to the base of the memorial is 47 inches in honour of the 47 who died. There are also 47 stones each bearing the name of one of the fallen in the three concentric rings at the base.”
The RAF were represented at the ceremony by Air Commodore David Cooper who as a young Tornado GR1 pilot on his first tour at RAF Marham deployed with 617 Sqn to the Gulf. He said: “For the families it must be very gratifying to see so many of their loved ones’ former colleagues here to pay their respects and to ensure they’re not forgotten.”
RAF veterans who had travelled from far and wide to attend the ceremony included Sergeant Paul Acres who was serving with 16 Sqn RAF Regiment at Wildenrath when the crisis broke. “It was hectic. We went to four hours standby at Wildenrath and painted up all the kit in sand colour. Then five Hercs came and took us down to Ali Al Salem in Kuwait. There was a real sense of trepidation and my family were concerned about my safety.”
During the ceremony a flypast was conducted by a Tornado GR4 from XV(R) Sqn painted in ‘desert pink’ colours to mark almost 25 years on continuous operations which commenced with Operation Granby.
An inscription on the Op Granby Memorial unveilled at the National Arboretum on 28 February 2016.
Royal Air Force Gulf War veterans (Op Granby) at the National Arboretum for the unveiling of the Op Granby Memorial, (left to right): SAC Brian Daly, SAC Andy McLellan, SAC Chris Taylor.
© MOD Crown Copyright 2016