The National Memorial Arboretum

My contributions to a conversation in Amfortas’ Tavern:

Royal Airforce Memorial

I visited the National Memorial Arboretum today and the Eagle in the attached photo was quite stunning against the skyline inviting closer inspection. When I got up close I found that it was the centrepiece of Royal Air force Association Memorial Garden.

It is a wonderful piece of artwork, a fitting memorial for those who served in The Royal Air Force. The crosses beneath have been placed there by friends, family and colleagues of those who served. Unfortunately the drizzly weather dulls the shine of the eagle against the sky… I thought you might enjoy it anyway.

Shot at Dawn

Another of the memorials I visited was the one I mentioned to you recently; ‘Shot at Dawn’. I have posted about it giving more detail of what the memorial represents.

When I set off to visit The National Memorial Arboretum this morning I didn’t realise that it was Memorial Day in the United States. It was only later when I got back home and read Ginnie’s post at Vision & Verb that I realised I had picked a perfect day to visit the Arboretum. The Arboretum is a centre of remembrance to honor the fallen and recognises their service and sacrifice for their country.

The site covers over 150 acres and there are currently around 300 memorials. Far too much to see in one day. I picked one of the self guided First World War Centenary trails that had been launched earlier this year:
History enthusiasts will enjoy the more detailed Shot at Dawn Trail (2km), created to provide a deeper understanding of many of the trees and memorials connected to WW1 by fascinating stories and symbolism.

The ‘Shot at Dawn’ memorial is very moving and requires a few minutes silent contemplation. The memorial is situated on the eastern edge of the arboretum where dawn strikes first.

I was sitting on a bench when I took this this photograph. Right behind the bench were six trees placed where the firing squad would have been. The six trees facing the posts represent the firing squad, all aiming for the medallion around the statues neck and none of them knowing who had the fatal bullet. It must have been very traumatic for them too, having to shoot one of their own.

The full conversation can by viewed here.

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The Victoria Cross

My contributions to a conversation in Amfortas’ Tavern.

You asked so I will tell…

A number of years ago a colleague and I showed a couple of visitors from another department around the Weapons collection that was held at MoD Donnington.  One of the exhibits was a replica of the Victoria Cross metal.  

After we had finished our visit we called in on the senior military officer who was OIC of the building where the museum was housed, in order to say thank you for allowing us to arrange the visit.  We got chatting with him and he asked if we would like to see the Victoria Cross metal.  Well there was only ONE answer to that question!  He then produced a locked box from within a locked cabinet in his office.  He showed us the fragment of metal and pointed out the smooth side where the metal had been sliced to send for casting.  He explained that a portion is always kept ready the jewelers, so they can start work on a medal when it is needed.

The security of the metal seems to have stepped up a bit since those good old days 😉

The weapons collection has now been moved from Donnington and is available for public viewing:

In my early days at work the piece of VC gun metal had a Nato Stock Number (NSN) and was part of the weapons inventory in the storehouse.  The VC gun metal was stored and locked in a secure cage along with other attractive items…

The following link refers to a stock record card, that is how the stores were accounted for before the advent of computers (the army were well behind the curve introducing computers into regular use).

Recording of the VC gun metal.

I think the picture in the link is showing the replica as it was displayed in the museum at Donnington.   The cut portion of the metal is to the rear.

Then later as I mentioned below the gun metal was moved from the stores inventory (and stores location) and kept under lock and two keys by an Army officer.

Somehow you (often) seem to  have the knack of getting me reminiscing 😉

The full conversation can be viewed here.

Cherie’s Choices

Rising to a challenge is stock for some of my customers. Heroes and Heroines look to the task and come through, just as CherryPie did with her program of song for Christmas.

I set a small task and threw open the Music Room. “What are your Christmas favourites?”.

Cherie brought hers for our enjoyment.

“It is difficult to choose from my favourite Christmas Carols and songs. And when narrowed down there are also many good YouTube versions… it is difficult to choose a favourite and some of my favourites are not available on YouTube. But I got there in the end.
My choices are all ones that I sung regularly when I was in a choir, but I have chosen a variety of styles rather than choosing full choir versions in every case.”

And what delights too.

Once in Royal David’s City.  Taken from ‘Carols from King’s’ 2004.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RC34N1TfCQ

The ‘Cathedral Choirs’ are a jewel in the English Tradition. And what can match them?

I have to admit a soft spot for this little girl. Her voice and youthful purity is captivating. It reminds me.

Jackie Evancho – Silent Night

There is a special space in my heart in which my own little blond girl should be. It is waiting for her to come back to it.

But from small things, big ones grow and sometimes they go away.

The Little Drummer Boy Performed by the Albright Angels and Mane Men

And now some healthy big girls without male accompaniment. What a fine harmony.

All Angels sing “The Angel Gabriel”

The boys get a turn too. And what boys they are !

“This one is not part of my Christmas choices (or something I have sung) but I came across it whilst I was browsing around on YouTube. The voice is phenomenal. I thought you might enjoy it ” 🙂

Vienna Boys Choir – Ave Maria

I hope you enjoy them 🙂
CC

I enjoyed them all, m’dear. Your glass is full and waiting.

And finally a Taverner’s Turn.

Another little girl, Rhema Marvanne, going places and singing praises.

O Holy Night

A satisfying evening. God Bless, Cherie.

But there is only so much an old Knight’s heart can hold before it overflows and I need to hurry off and wring out my towel.

Perhaps my other customers could just go over to Cherie’s Place while I tidy m’self up a bit.

I shall be down in the Crypt with this one. Not simply Christmassy, but out of the depths.

Canto Gregoriano
CREDO IN UNUM DEUM
Schola Gregoriana

Pax Dei.