16th April 2018 - A conversation between Tony Sexton and Paul Guiver sparked the interest in the project. Tony and Paul are both former serving Royal Navy Clearance Divers and, with no memorial in place in the UK to commemorate Military Diving, they felt it was long overdue for one to be created.
With them both having a background in project management, sales and a reputation for getting the job done on time and on budget, they agreed on an ambitious plan to provide a fitting monument to Military Diving.
Over the next few weeks, NDA's were signed, logo's designed and a new company was incorporated.
31st May 2018 - Two new websites are well under way but we were still left with 3 major questions...
What style of monument should we create to commemorate Military Diving?
Where should it be located to enable the most people to see it in a suitable environment?
How could we fund it?
1. The "What" style should we create was easy..
With many military diving sets to choose from that have been in service over the years,
the most iconic and globally recognised must surely be the Siebe Gorman (Admiralty Pattern) 6-Bolt Standard diving dress.
It’s still proudly worn on the uniform of all Royal Navy and British Army divers to this day (and also the helmet of choice for many diving associations around the world).
2. The "Where" was a little more difficult...
Military Diving has a long history; it has been conducted by the British Army and the
Royal Navy in many locations and bases, so to try and choose one of these over all the
others could cause problems.
There are also significant environmental problems when installing a bronze monument, especially near the coast. Metal, bronze in particular, does not react well near salt water or to large amounts of Seagull deposits for that matter! With the memorial's lifespan projected to be at least 100+ years, we had a duty to choose a location to allow the preservation of the patina and consider the ongoing access and maintenance requirements of a public memorial.
After many days research we had narrowed the location down to one prime spot;
The NMA opened to the public in May 2001, it is situated in the centre of the UK in Alrewas in Staffordshire. It is easy to reach from any part of the country and is close to major motorway networks.
The NMA has quickly established itself as THE centre for remembrance in the UK.
Covering 150 acres the Arboretum has something for everyone; attracting visitors from all over the world.
For some it’s a wonderful place to stroll and enjoy over 30,000 trees that have been planted; for others it's a peaceful and beautiful place to remember loved ones, particularly those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. It has a variety of over 300 memorials already dedicated with the stunning and moving Armed Forces Memorial holding pride of place. Its future is assured.
Throughout the month of June 2018, a number of visits and meetings took place at the Arboretum; discussing acceptance criteria including suitable and available locations.
It was felt that if possible the memorial should look over water and be on the land train route that runs round the site. It would also need to be adjacent to a made-up pathway
for accessibility of wheelchairs and walkers etc.
Eventually we had enough information to prepare the formal submission for inclusion to the NMA Planning Committee meeting on the 17th July 2018.
The Military Diver Memorial had found its fitting home!
3. The last of the three questions we had to answer was "How could we fund it?" This was probably the hardest one of all.
With social media nowadays it seems every time you log on there is another 'Just Giving', 'Crowdfunding' appeal or fundraising drive. As worthy as the majority of these are, it was felt that in order to raise the significant funds required to design and erect a statue of this magnitude and prestige, the addition of our 'open caps' to an already busy arena would not be the way ahead.
It was therefore decided to follow the fundraising method used for the highly successful MkV Monument Project in the USA. Three hundred limited edition exact replica bronze (not resin) statuettes would be commissioned and, from the sale of these, funds would be donated to support the entire cost of creating, shipping and installing the Military Diver Memorial at the NMA.
Since the unveiling of the MkV Monument in the USA the 300 x Limited Edition Statuettes (seen here) that were sold to fund the entire project, have appreciated in value.
It is recognised that
there is a global appetite to purchase what is now
No 2 in a series of these
stunning pieces amongst military divers and fine