2003, six years into the existance of the Association, member Harold
Heath of Stafford asked the Committee for their thoughts of having a
memorial to remember those who had lost their lives in the Canal
Zone. After a lengthy discussion, Harold was given the job of
making preliminary arrangements with the Arboretum management, and
submitting some designs. Things progressed well, donations were
received which increased the amount the SVA could pledge. The
of ground offered by the Arboretum was accepted and preparation work
began. The plot is on a corner of two walkways and consisted of a
Pyramid shaped Memorial. A few flag-stones
were laid and a quarter of the plot covered with sand with a narrow
trench filled with blue glass chippings to represent the Canal.
The remainder was grassed over. Four small palm type trees were
obtained and set. The Memorial was opened at a dedication service
held on 13th March 2004
Four views of the original SVA Memorial.
|After a while two things showed
up. Although the sand was spread over a membrane, weeds soon
to grow through, and rabbits had a great time trying to burrow into the
sand and also into the 'canal' so that blue glass chippings were being
mixed with the sand. All this made a lot of maintenance and
tidying up to be done and it was the members who lived within striking
distance that often visited the site to carry out the work. Not
only weeding and seeing to rabbit damage, but also raking the sand to
remove the footprints where people had walked all over it, and in at
least one case remove tyre tracks where a vehicle had driven over a
It became obvious that something had to be done and sometime in late 2011 a member, the late Brian Watts, (who later took over as Association Secretary), came forward with some ideas for a complete overhaul. With his building experience and contacts made through his business, he managed to arrange a lot of work to be done at very little cost, sometimes no cost at all. His plans were accepted and work began on the plot early 2012.
new lay-out had a slightly larger Pyramin on a plinth, a Memorial
Cross is included, information plaques added and the 'canal' is a
coloured composition. The trees were re-planted and are surviving
nicely. The Crosses around the tree trunks are in Memory of those
Servicemen who lost their lives in the Malta air-crash, 18th February
1956. Each cross has a name engrave upon it.
On the Pyramid is a small plaque which reads:
Also on the Pyramid is a small display frame containing a quantity of sand that was collected from the British Military Cemetery at Moascar and brought back by a member and his wife who had been on one of the SVA organised visits to the Zone. Two seats have been donated
Plaque showing a map of the Zone.
Plaque showing list of Units who served in the Zone
|The new Memorial was re-dedicated on Saturday 31st March, 2012 with a well attended Service and Parade.
Here are some of the Members and the Standard Bearers who took part.
| All looks good on the plot and is liked
by the Arboretum management due to its lay-out and the number of
notices, or plaques, giving information about the reasons of the
Memorial to the
So, with the Suez Veterans' Association closing down, what of the
future for the Memorial? An agreement between the SVA and
the National Memorial Arboretum, has been signed whereby the NMA will
carry out required maintainance to the Memorial, and keep it in good
order, for the next 20 years, at a sizeable, but fair, cost to the
Association, which has been paid.