A VETERAN Royal Marine who served in Northern Ireland, Cyprus and the Caribbean has designed a war memorial for his place of work, which was officially unveiled in Newport yesterday.
Tony Charles, 59, now works as an IT manager with the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in Duffryn.
But for 11 years he served with the Royal Marines, joining up as a 16-year-old in 1971 and going on to serve as a Junior NCO commando.
He saw action in the Northern Irish troubles and helped protect villages during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. While training at the marines base near Exmouth, he slipped from a “death slide” in wet conditions and was partially paralysed for three months. Now he, along with ONS deputy director Colin Shaw and others, has created the memorial so people affected by combat have a place to reflect.
The new memorial is made from wooden railway sleepers with a pattern reflecting trenches in the First World War made of coloured glass to represent the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force.
Newport’s mayor Matthew Evans officially declared the memorial open, telling the assembled crowd: “Most of the staff here had parents, grandparents or even great grandparents who took part in the liberation of Europe in 1944 or more recent conflicts, for example The Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan. Many brave men and women did not return home. I hope this memorial can be a place for reflection and peace of mind for those we have loved and lost, no matter when.”
A bugler sounded the Last Post and there were speeches and a dedication from pastor Mike Levy.
With 2014 the centenary of the First World War, ONS staff have sown 3,000 poppy seeds around the memorial as a special area of remembrance.