Huge community fundraising effort creates fitting monument to barrack’s fallen.
A MEMORIAL garden was officially opened at RMB Chivenor on Thursday after a fundraising campaign raised £227,000 in just 18 months.
As revealed by the Gazette in January last year, the tri-service garden and parade area pays homage to 80 personnel who have lost their lives in training or combat since the units were established at the base in 1955.
The memorial will also provide a special community place for remembrance and reflection, as well as for marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen carrying unseen mental scars in the aftermath of conflict.
It features a Portland stone memorial wall with bronze plaques bearing the names of the fallen, as well as the crests of the Commando Logistic Regiment Royal Marines, 24 Commando Engineer Regiment, and A Flight 22 Squadron Royal Air Force Search and Rescue.
Elsewhere in the garden there are ‘air’, ‘earth’ and ‘water’ memorials for the Royal Air Force, Royal Engineer and Royal Marine associations.
The memorial was designed, and the bronzes cast, by Braunton artist and sculptor John Rodney-Jones. The mosaics were created by Shannon Ridd, also of Braunton, while local landscape designer Peter Jewell & Son completed the final construction elements of the garden.
Lieutenant Colonel Bob Baxendale, Commanding Officer of Commando Logistic Regiment, said: “The memorial garden at Chivenor is a fitting monument to those who have died while serving at RMB Chivenor.
“It is a focal point of remembrance, for service personnel, families and the local community, and will allow those carrying the unseen scars of conflict to decompress and reflect.”
Thursday’s dedication formally marked the completion of almost two years of work to create a lasting memorial at the barracks.
The ceremony was attended by members of the local community, charitable organisations and dignitaries, many of whom had given invaluable support to the project.
Lt Col Baxendale added: “This has been thanks, in no small part, to the generosity and support of the people of North Devon.”