ON October 14 two former governors, politicians, old soldiers, representatives of the Royal British Legion, the Royal Gibraltar Regiment band and many others made the journey to the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire to see the unveiling of the Gibraltar Memorial.
The Arboretum, United Kingdom’s Centre of Remembrance is a 150 acre site that has 300 memorials to all branches of the armed services, civil defence, rescue services and numerous member countries of the Commonwealth. There is a Mediterranean Section which includes memorials to servicemen lost in the North Africa Campaign in Malta and in the Cyprus Emergency.
According to a government release, during a visit to the Arboretum by local man, Joe Brugada, he noted that, although there were memorials to other Commonwealth countries and the Falklands, there was no mention of Gibraltar.
In a project driven by him and fully supported by HM Government of Gibraltar, a suitable memorial was designed by Anselmo Torres. The memorial was cut from a single piece of limestone from the Rock by two British stonemasons and was flown to RAF Brize Norton and then on to Norfolk where it was carved into its final shape.
The dignified ceremony was led by Monsignor Charles Azzopardi and involved the laying of wreaths by numerous attendees. Members of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment provided the music which included a piper’s lament and last post.
The memorial which has been carved in the shape of the Rock of Gibraltar is dedicated ‘In memory of all Gibraltarians who gave their lives in the service of their country in armed conflicts around the world.’