The Railway Industry Memorial

The Railway Industry Memorial

On 22nd May 2022, it was 10 years since the British Transport Pensioners’ Federation proudly unveiled and dedicated their memorial, at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. In 2012, more than a thousand people gathered on a hot, sunny day to witness the event.

BTPF members came from around the country by train, coach and car to see special guest, Sir Bob Reid, former Chairman of British Rail and Ian Dudson, Her Majesty the Queen’s Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire, jointly perform the unveiling and dedication ceremony. Current BTPF National Chairman, John Harrison, told RailNews “22nd May 2012 is a day all those of us who were there, will remember for the rest of our lives”.

The memorial is situated within sight of the Derby to Birmingham railway line and celebrates the achievements of the railway family, who gave their lives in times of both conflict and peace. The BTPF holds a ceremony twice a year, at which prayers are said and a commemorative wreath is laid. Ceremonies are planned to take place each year on the anniversary day of 22nd May at 14.00 and on 11th November at 11.00, which gives railway people a chance to meet and an opportunity to reflect.

This year was no exception as it was the 10th anniversary and again the weather was kind. John was delighted that the Rev James Lindsay accepted his invitation to lead this year’s event, as it was James who led our unveiling and dedication event in 2012. At that time, James was the Railway Mission Chaplain for the East Midlands.

The National Memorial Arboretum is well worth a visit and is growing in size each year. The Railway Industry Memorial itself is quite spectacular and receives a high number of positive comments from visitors.

Rev James Lindsay leading this year’s service.

John Harrison in front of the Memorial and some of the visitors on the day.


The National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas (near Lichfield) in East Staffordshire is our national site of remembrance.  It was inspired by a visit to the Arlington Cemetery in the USA. 

We lay a wreath twice per year.  One on the 22th May at 14.00 to commemorate the anniversary of the original unveiling in 2012 and on 11th November at 11.00 to commemorate Armistice Day.  You are most welcome to join us at either or both of these events, to remember railway people and others who have made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us

Around 50,000 young trees have been planted to mark the 20th Century and the people who lived, worked and died during that period.  The trees represent the armed services, the Merchant Navy, many civilian organisations and even ordinary families.
Following an ambitious project led by the BTPF, a memorial to the Rail Industry was finally unveiled.

The unveiling – an audible gasp of admiration from the audience!


The Railway Industry Memorial 2021

On Saturday 22nd May the BTPF was represented at our Railway Industry Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, for the annual commemorative service. With Covid restrictions still applicable there were four members there and we were delighted to welcome Colin Fraser, the new Railway Chaplain as well. Once again the sun shone on us and after saying a few prayers, a short reading and poem a wreath was laid.

Tony Cotgreave, John Harrison, Reg Sargeant and Les McDowell represented the Federation.

Let us hope in 2022 we can hold a commemorative service without the need to restrict numbers.

Les McDowell, Tony Cotgreave, Reg Sargeant, Colin Fraser and John Harrison


British Transport Pensioners Federation

Armistice Day Service 2021

On 11th November the BTPF held a short service at the Railway Memorial in the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, see image below. As the Last Post was sounded a wreath was laid by Tony Cotgreave and Les McDowell at the memorial. For the Fallen was recited and our Chairman, John Harrison gave a reading and led us in prayer. There was already a wreath from other members of the BTPF.

The service was attended by John Harrison, Reg Sargeant, Les McDowell, Tony Cotgreave, Brian Found and Keith Rackham from the Stonemasons who built and look after the Memorial.

We shall be holding our annual Memorial service on Sunday 22nd May 2022 at 14.00 at Alrewas and we look forward to seeing as many as possible for this.


 

Hello,

The whole team at the National Memorial Arboretum hopes this message finds you and your families safe and well. Whilst undoubtedly for a much greater good, we were incredibly sad to close to our visitors in March. Although a small number from our dedicated team have been working hard to ensure that our grounds and buildings have been maintained, the missing presence of the wider Arboretum community has been truly felt; the bustle each day brings and the memories shared and created by each and every visitor.

Taking resolve from the inspiring individuals and organisations represented around our site has helped both me and the rest of my team operate through this incredibly challenging period. Although we have not been able to meet in person, I have been inspired by the stories that you have continued to share with us digitally and the personal acts of Remembrance observed. On behalf of my entire team, I want to extend my thanks for your continued, and unwavering, support.

Over the past months the importance and benefits of enjoying green space have been brought to the fore, and I know that many of you are now as eager to visit our site, as we are to welcome you. I am therefore pleased to be able to share that we will open our grounds on 8 June.

To ensure that you get the most from your forthcoming visit, whilst exploring our site safely, we will be introducing a number of new measures which will apply to all visitors, immediately from opening:

Although we are eager to welcome you back to the Arboretum, please do not visit the Arboretum if you are required to remain in isolation due to current Government guidelines.


I know that you will have lots of questions regarding visiting over the next few months so I encourage you to read our Visiting FAQs for further information. We will also be sharing our latest updates via our social media channels.

At the Arboretum we pride ourselves on the welcome and service we provide to each of our visitors and I hope that you will appreciate that, at the moment, it won’t be possible for my team to welcome you in the way that we traditionally have, although you can continue to expect a friendly smile, even if it’s from a distance.

I thank you in advance for working with us over the next few months and look forward to seeing you again soon.

Philippa Rawlinson
Managing Director
National Memorial Arboretum