The Memorial to Quaker Service at the National Memorial Arboretum
The immediate purpose of the memorial is the remembrance of service by members of the Friends Ambulance Unit and Friends Relief Service during World War II.
For the Society today it is also an opportunity for outreach. Some 300,000 people visit the National Memorial Arboretum, at Alrewas near Lichfield, each year. Visit their site https://www.thenma.org.uk/
A memorial which is explicit in its statement of Friends’ witness and commitment to peace may well find resonance, provided its message draws on our common humanity.
Quaker Service Memorial Trust (Registered Charity Number 1142335)
With contributions from a range of sources, funds were raised to cover the cost of construction of the memorial which was inaugurated in April 2013.
The Trust is involved in continuing work which includes interviewing FAU and FRS people and their families about their service during the war years. We are also working closely with staff at the National Memorial Arboretum
An exhibition about Quaker Service focusing on the FAU and FRS is available from QSMT.
Further details about the Trust and contact details are available from its website http://www.qsmt.org.uk/
There are ten texts, four carved on the backs of the stone seats and two on the front. The wording on the backs of seats is:
RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS (QUAKERS)
The Society emerged after the civil war of the 1640s with a commitment to live by the virtue of that life and power that takes away the occasion of all wars”. Quakers continue to work worldwide for peace and reconciliation.Back of seat 1
Quaker meetings for worship are often held in a circle, a symbol of unity and equality.Front on seat 1
TRUTHFront base of seat 1
FRIENDS AMBULANCE UNIT
The Unit enabled conscientious objectors to serve in theatres of war. They cared for civilian and military casualties of any nation in both World Wars. Seventeen members were killed in World War II.Back of seat 2
EQUALITYFront base of seat 2
FRIENDS RELIEF SERVICE
The Service was set up in 1939 to relieve civilian distress. It worked in a spirit of peace at a time of war in the UK, Europe and further afield.Back of seat 3
SIMPLICITYFront base of seat 3
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
“It is the silent help from the nameless to the nameless which is the Quakers’ contribution to the promotion of brotherhood between nations” Citation from the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Quakers in 1947.Back of seat 4
“Let your life speak, answering that of God in everyone” George Fox, 1624-1691Front of seat 4
PEACEFront base of seat 4