News - The UK Holiday Group reunites shipmates and naval associations for national memorial event

Former naval services personnel from across the UK will be travelling to the National Memorial Arboretum to pay their respects to shipmates being commemorated by a new memorial.

Called the Naval Service Memorial, it will be unveiled on Sunday 15 June during a special dedication service which will be attended by an estimated 1,500 people.

Norwich-based firm, The UK Holiday Group - the parent of just for groups! - will play its part in the event by arranging transport and accommodation for more than 500 Royal Naval Association (RNA) members who will be attending this unique event.

The UK Holiday Group sealed a deal earlier this year to provide bespoke holiday services to members of CONA (the Conference of Naval Associations), which is a loose federation of like-minded naval associations, to which the RNA belongs.

CONA will also benefit from the deal, as The UK Holiday Group will make a donation to the association for every member holiday that is booked through the service.

The high-profile event will be attended by HRH Prince Michael of Kent; the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Rt Hon Mark Francois MP; the First Sea Lord, Admiral George Zambellas; and Commanding Officers of HM ships, submarines, air squadrons, commandos and reserve units.

The BBC will cover the event, and its defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt has been conducting interviews in connection with the memorial.

The memorial has been established by the RNA, which has been running a project to mark the 60th anniversary of the RNA’s Royal Charter in 2014. 

Paul Quinn OBE, general secretary of the RNA and chairman of the CONA Working Group, said: “The dedication of the Naval Service Memorial is a key event in the history of our naval associations and we hope as many members as possible can join us.

“I am sure the service will be moving – but also a great opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones too.”

Harold Burke, sales director at The UK Holiday Group, added: “We are proud to be playing our part in this event, which is so important to so many people who have served in the Navy, both past and present.

“We already have plans to take many more members to the National Memorial Arboretum in the future as part of our holiday service programme.”


The memorial will be dedicated to those who served, serve today and will serve tomorrow in the Royal Naval Service, regardless of rank, trade or fighting arm.

It shows a limestone figure of a sailor, facing to the setting sun, with its head bowed in respect to shipmates. 

Coloured glass panels represent the five oceans – steel grey for the Atlantic; turquoise for the Indian; ultramarine blue for the Pacific; and with white inserts for the Arctic and Southern Ocean. 

Yellow represents the rising sun, and red is there for the setting sun and for the blood spilled at sea in the defence of our nation.

The glass panels also suggest waves and motion, and they cast a shadow echoing both the shape of a warship and medal ribbons.

The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire is the UK’s year-round centre of remembrance; a spiritually uplifting place which honours the fallen, recognises service and sacrifice, and fosters pride in our country.

For offers and services for CONA members, call 0844 2642120 or email:, or see the website

For CONA groups (10 or more people), call the Group Travel Hotline on 0844 2642122.  
For details about The UK Holiday Group, call 01603 886 700,, or see the website