The site of the Runnymede Memorial overlooks the Thames and theriverside meadow where Magna Carta, enshrining man's basic
freedoms under law, was sealed by King John in 1215. The land
upon which it stands was donated by Sir Eugen and Lady Effie
Millington-Drake in 1949.The memorial was designed by Sir Edward Maufe, the Commission'sprincipal architect for the United Kingdom after the Second World War, and consists of a shrine embraced by a cloister in which the
names of the dead are recorded. These, grouped according to the
year of death, are inscribed on the stone reveals and mullions of thenarrow windows giving the impression of partly opened stone
books. The coats of arms of the Commonwealth countries are
represented on the cloister ceilings.
The cloisters have curved wings terminating in two lookouts. The
entrance, through a triple arched portico, gives access to the
cloisters; on the north side is the shrine, entered through a single
arch with three stone figures by Vernon Hill representing Justice,
Victory and Courage.
Engraved on the great north window of the shrine are words from
the 139th Psalm, sometimes called the Airman's Psalm.
If I climb up into Heaven, Thou art there;
If I go to Hell, Thou art there also.
If I take the wings of the morning
And remain in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there also shall Thy hand lead me;
And Thy right hand shall hold me.
Above the angels flanking the text are engraved vapour trails taken
from actual photographs of the sky during the Battle of Britain. Thedesign is by John Hutton, who was also responsible for the paintedceilings of the shrine and lookouts which depict the four winds, theplanets and the phases of the moon scattered with stars.From the shrine two staircases lead to a gallery, on a window of
"...wherever and for as long as freedom
flourishes on the earth, the men and
women who possess it will thank them
and will say they did not die in vain."
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 17 October 195
The Air Forces Memorial, or Runnymede Memorial, in Englefield Green, near Egham, Surrey, England is a memorial dedicated to some 20,456 men and women from air forces of the British Empire who were lost in air and other operations during World War II. Those recorded have no known grave anywhere in the world, and many were lost without trace. The name of each of these airmen and airwomen is engraved into the stone walls of the memorial, according to country and squadron.