A national memorial to commemorate all the members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) who have died while serving on operations around the world has been officially unveiled.
Since 1905 the Royal Fleet Auxiliary has supported the Royal Navy across the globe during both peace and war, providing vital supplies such as food, fuel and ammunition.
The new dedication at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire lists the 24 ships involved in conflicts with loss of life - starting with RFA Thrush in 1917 and ending with RFA Sir Tristram in 1982 during the Falklands War.
The RFA Association, which includes former and serving personnel among its members, helped raise more than £30,000 to pay for the memorial, with some of the funding coming from events held on RFA ships across the fleet.
Commodore Bill Walworth, Commodore RFA, said:
The National Memorial Arboretum is a wonderful location and I am pleased we are today dedicating an RFA memorial that is well designed, reflects our service, and sits beautifully in the peace and tranquillity of the park.
Since 1905 the ships and people of the RFA have served their country, providing the lifeblood that keeps the Royal Navy fighting and its sailors and marines sustained. The RFA Memorial is an important symbol of this enduring commitment.
Attending the official unveiling was RFA Commodore-in-Chief His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex, Vice Admiral Alan Richards, Chief of Defence Intelligence, and around 160 members of the RFA Association and serving RFA officers and ratings.
Addressing the assembled crowd, the Earl of Wessex said that the memorial was:
in memory of all those who have and who will serve and a place for the families to visit. It is not a piece of stone but a place of memories.
Robin Lock, RFA (Retired), said:
It is a special commemoration that met the old, the new and the future in recognition of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s 107 years of service to the Armed Forces and the Crown.