The Railway Industry Memorial

The Railway Industry Memorial

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. 

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


I am delighted to advise members that the BTPF was able to lay a wreath at our Memorial on Armistice Day. I was accompanied by Les McDowell, Vice President, and we had to book online to obtain a car parking permit and entry ticket. We followed all the necessary social distancing rules and the wreath laying was very simple as we were not allowed to hold a formal service. We spoke For the Fallen and said one prayer which we felt was particularly relevant for the occasion.

The Arboretum was extremely quiet but Edward, Earl of Wessex and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex did attend a private service at the Armed Forces Memorial. There were no Marches by anyone this year.

We were pleased to see that ours was not the only wreath or cross laid at the Memorial. Another wreath simply stated

” In remembrance of all Railway Staff killed in conflict and peacetime
From Jonathan A Railway Worker”

John Harrison, Chairman.



In spite of the present COVID 19 challenges we are all facing the BTPF Chairman, John Harrison, along with Reg Sargeant, Vice Chairman, and Les McDowell Vice President, were able to attend the National Memorial Arboretum on Wednesday 17th June in the first week that the Arboretum has opened again. Pre-booking of spaces was essential but the day went without too many hitches.
A very simple wreath laying only ceremony was held at 12.15 and our invited guests joined us in a few moments silence to honour those commemorated by the Memorial.
Let us hope that we can hold a full service on our next scheduled date of 11th November 2020 and indeed on our actual anniversary date of 22nd May 2021.
Click on an image to enlarge



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