UK

How The First Gulf War Is Remembered At The National Memorial Arboretum

No memorial had existed to commemorate the 47 personnel who died in the 1991 conflict, prior to 2016.

In a corner of the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire stands a memorial to the 47 British personnel who lost their lives in the First Gulf War, 30 years ago.

It was created by a group of veterans from the 1991 conflict and was funded entirely from donations.

Former combat medic Kevin Doughty and his friend Kerry 'Spike' Fuller, an ex-RAF supply controller, launched the Gulf War Memorial Trust Appeal in 2012 to help fundraise towards the cost of the £70,000 memorial.

After two years of fundraising through donations and activities like sponsored marathons and parachute jumps, the charity was in danger of missing its target, so arranged a meeting with the Kuwaiti Ambassador in London.

Kevin Doughty told Forces News: "I sat down and I had a ballpark figure that I knew in my head what I was going to ask for. 

"He said '£25,000'? You will have your money.

"We walked out of there with a cheque for £25,000 and we then knew that [it] would come to completion, fruition, and it did."

The memorial was officially unveiled on 28 February 2016 - the 25th anniversary of the conflict's end.

Designed by RAF veteran Ian Beadles, it has three pillars to represent each of the Armed Services that took part in the liberation of Kuwait, and its centre stone has an image of the Gulf Medal engraved in black granite.

Beneath the centre of the stone are 48 poppies – one for each of the 47 personnel who died and one for all those who served in the First Gulf War.

"The black in the centre represents the spilling of oil in the oil fields and how the sand-coloured stones have now started to leach. It's as if the oil was seeping into them and that's what we intended," says Mr Fuller.

No memorial had previously existed to commemorate those who died in the conflict.

Listen to the story of the First Gulf War, told by those who were there. Decision-makers, military commanders, soldiers, sailors and air personnel reflect on their roles in the conflict, 30 years on.

'GRANBY: The Storm in the Desert' is available from Friday 15 January, wherever you get your podcasts and on bfbs.com/podcasts.