A very well attended March meeting of the club was held in the Ex-Servicemen’s Club.
The president, John Wilkinson, welcomed Mike Turner from the National War Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, who gave an interesting presentation on the arboretum.
Officially opened in 2001 on a site of some 150 acres, the project was conceived by David Childs in 1988 to be a place where the nation might remember those servicemen and women who have been killed on duty or from terrorist actions since the Second World War.
The grounds were former sand and gravel quarries which were restored to their original grassland state by the then quarry company - Lafarge Aggregates - when they had finished their quarrying activities and then generously gifted the land for use by the arboretum charity, charging only a peppercorn rent.
Some 52,000 trees have been planted on the site and there are 250 memorials. Inevitably, only a few features could be dealt with in the talk.
The Millennium Chapel of Peace and Forgiveness was seen to be one of the focal points on the site.
The wooden building is built and supported on a frame of 12 trunks from Douglas firs, each one representing the 12 apostles.
Here, every morning at 11am, an act of remembrance is carried out.
The other prominent focal point is the Armed Forces Memorial, standing on a large artificial mound bearing the names of some 16,000 former servicemen and women killed since the Second World War engraved on the white stone walls of the circular monument.
The speaker drew attention to a memorial to Anne Frank at the centre of which is an elder tree. Each year it flowers in April. The flowerbuds are removed to symbolise the fact that Anne Frank did not reach adulthood and achieve her full life.
The Polar Bear Association Memorial was the first sculpture to be erected at the arboretum and commemorates the 49th Infantry, West Yorkshire Division who, during the Second World War, were stationed in Iceland and for most of the campaign were under 20ft of snow.
Numerous other memorials were illustrated, perhaps the most moving being Shot At Dawn, commemorating some 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers who, during the First World War, were shot for desertion or cowardice, but who in reality were probably suffering from the stresses of war.
The aboretum is constantly evolving and reference was made to a £15 million scheme for redeveloping some of the visitor facilities.
Since the arboretum is a charity it has to raise its own funds and around £10 million has already been raised for this project.
A vote of thanks was proposed by Stuart Mustow. The next meeting of Probus will be on Tuesday, April 9 and will be the AGM followed by a debate on Scottish independence.