First Memorial

In 2002, 4 former Auxiliaries founded and became Trustees of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force National Memorial Trust. The Trust’s objective was to provide a Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire dedicated to all those who had served in the Auxiliary Air Force, the 48 RAF Companies of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (an all female Service affiliated to the AAF) or the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. It was intended that the Memorial should remember in particular those who died in the cause of freedom.

The Arboretum Trustees agreed that the Memorial could be erected to the West of the Royal Air Force Memorial. They also agreed a plot design.

The cost of the undertaking was estimated to be in the order of £10,000 of which the purchase cost of the plot would be £4,000, the Memorial and its accoutrements £5,000, and the Dedication ceremony arrangements £1,000. The requisite funds were raised within 18 months thanks to generous donations from past and present Honorary Air Commodores, Auxiliaries and members of the civilian community. A significant sum of £3,800 was also raised through a sponsored cycle ride, masterminded by Squadron Leader Charlie Anderson of 606 (Chiltern) Squadron, which involved serving Auxiliaries from Squadrons and Units from around the country.

Having found the requisite funding, work on the Memorial began in 2003 and was completed 6 months later. Built of fired bricks, the Memorial is octagonal in shape. The front face describes the Memorial, and the rear 5 faces list the Units that have at one time or another from 1924 up to 2004 been in either the Auxiliary Air Force or its successor, the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. The Memorial is in the centre of a rectangular plot which is bordered by trees and within which are 4 benches provided by the 4 Royal Air Force Volunteer Squadrons which became part of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force in 1998. The Memorial was flanked by 2 flag-poles flying the ensigns of the Royal Air Force and of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, but these have since been removed to comply with Arboretum regulations.

On 25th September 2004, following a Service in the Arboretum Chapel, the Memorial was formally dedicated in the presence of HRH The Duke of Gloucester. Music was provided by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force, and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight provided a fly-past including a Lancaster, a Spitfire and a Hurricane, the latter both bearing Auxiliary Air Force Squadron identities.

Replacement Memorial