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Refurbishment and Rededication.


Contributed by: Gordon BONNER (49B)


Arborfield Army Apprentices School.



R.E.M.E. Memorial – Refurbishment.



REME Corps Memorial, Alrewas, Staffordshire.


Refurbishment project.2013/14.


As a founding Trustee of the Army Apprentice National Memorial project, (which began in October 2009) I became a frequent and regular visitor to the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA), Alrewas, Staffordshire.

Over time I became aware that for whatever reason, our Corps Memorial began to show such signs of neglect that I wrote to Brigadier Ball, Corps Secretary, in 2010, drawing his attention to the memorial’s dishevelled appearance.

Some remedial work was attended to in 2011, otherwise the situation remained unchanged and the memorial continued to decay.

By early 2013, I decided that   on a personal basis I could not allow the situation to continue, as it was my perception that REME’s reputation for excellence was at risk in the public domain.

My first port of call was to speak to Mr Paul Kennedy, Grounds Curator, at the NMA, only to discover that the Corps had omitted to put in place a properly financed maintenance schedule to care for the memorial for the life of the memorial.

Thus on founder’s day service  1st October 2013 at the NMA, I asked Lt.Col (Retd) John Edwards if he would kindly arrange for me to have a few minutes with the REME Col, Col Dan Scott, during lunch hour. This was agreed.

Having apprised Col Scott of the situation pertaining to the care of the Corps memorial, he then asked me what I wanted to do. Seizing the opportunity, I requested that he appoint a serving officer as project leader, co-opt myself and Mr Maurice Hope, Vice-chairman, Potteries and District REME Association Branch, and form a Corps Memorial Refurbishment Project team, tasked with identifying remedial work to be done, ascertain costs and prepare presentation documents to be placed before the Trustees of the REME Central Trust at the Annual Trustees meeting in May 2014.

This was done, the Trustees approved, and so the project began!!!

In this second week of May 2015, the project is nearing completion. The main elements incorporated into the Corps memorial were:

Re-landscape and re-turf the whole site.

Lay a new footpath, including granite curb-stones.

Install a new centre circle roundel, the design of which is based on the REME stable belt buckle.

Replace the Portland stone REME badges on the front of the memorial with engraved granite REME badges, thus enhancing the property of longevity of the memorial.

Deep–cut the memorial fonts, colour them with a blue/grey enamel to reflect the colour of the new roundels.

Replace the entrance lecterns with Portland stone columns, capped with granite tops carrying the information text for the memorial in a white font.

I am sure that you will agree with me , that the attached photographs show that although not quite finished, the results achieved so far have significantly improved the image of the memorial, and will underline  the Corps reputation for excellence

Major (Retired) Gordon G. Bonner.

Leeds,   May 2015.




R.E.M.E. Memorial Site - Prior to the refurbishment.


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Landscaping and renovation.


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Details Of A Refurbished R.E.M.E. Memorial.


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REME Corps Memorial - The Final Act.


By Maurice Hope. Vice Chairman of the Potteries & District branch REME Association.


Although the refurbished Corps memorial was rededicated on Tuesday June 2nd this year, which formally completed the eighteen month refurbishment project, there still remained one more job to complete - the task of bringing together a small and enthusiastic group of volunteers to plant 10,000 bluebell bulbs in the wooded areas either side of the memorial base.

So it was all fingers crossed that the previous few days of very changeable weather in the area would be kind to us on the morning of Wednesday 23rd September, which thankfully it was. Following a very grey and overcast early morning things brightened up as the day progressed.

The area to be planted had earlier in the morning been taped off, and the work began under the direction of the Corps Welfare Officer Mr Richard Barber, Refurbishment Team Leader Major Gordon G. Bonner (Retd) and ex RSM John Painter, ensuring the correct planting by numbers was observed. Strangely the three gentlemen were all ex 7 Armoured Workshop (Fallingbostal) personnel.

The whole exercise was recorded by John & Joan Hubbert, who are the branch photographers of the Potteries & District Branch of the REME Association. John's pictures were featured in the Craftsman Magazine article of the rededication service, so many thanks go to them.

It wouldn't be right to not thank or mention the other bluebell diggers and volunteers, so any I have missed out on the list I apologise in advance, but you know who you are, and your efforts were very much appreciated.


Thanks go to:


The group from 30 Signals Regt LAD (Nuneaton) courtesy of ex Corps ASM, Capt Marcus Mason.


The group from 127 Field Company (101 Battalion REME) from Manchester, namely Sgt Eric Lancashire, L/Cpl Carl Jepson, Cfn Liam Lancashire, Cfn Leanne Webb and Cfn Stephen Howarth.


Brian Cowan and his wife Ellen who had travelled up from Bedford (another ex 7 Armoured man).


From the Birmingham branch of the Association, Alan Quine with Kim Joicey and his wife.


John Blair from Stafford and Clive Rogers from Bolton.


Although not physically in attendance, thanks must go to the Tynecastle Branch of the Association for their donation of four packets of bulbs.

It was strongly rumoured that the Corps ASM was present at the start, but when the spadework commenced, a bit like the mist that hovered over the nearby river, when the sun came up he disappeared, not to be seen again.

Due to the sterling efforts of all concerned, all 10,000 bulbs had been planted by lunch time, when everyone was presented with their haversack rations. Following which it was pack up time, boots off, spades away and make their way home for a hot bath to ease otherwise rarely used muscles, and look forward to the aching back on the morrow.

 We all look forward now to next spring to see if all the effort and expense was worthwhile and hopefully see a carpet of flowering bluebells in all their glory, although we have been warned by the NMA's gardening guru not to expect too much initially, as only about twenty per cent are likely to flower in the first year. Maybe this free annual flower show will encourage visitors to return year on year to see our own little bluebell woods develop.





First Published: 1st June 2015.

Latest Update: 8th October 2015.





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