Stoke & Staffordshire

Memorial to Quakers' wartime service at national arboretum

The memorial
Image caption The memorial features six texts carved on to four stone benches, arranged in an open circle to represent unity and equality

A memorial recognising the wartime work done by Quakers has been unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Quaker beliefs, among them pacifism, meant that many were unable to serve in the armed forces during wartime.

Many volunteered to serve in warzones in the Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU).

Leslie Steed, 94, from Birmingham, who served with the FAU during World War II, said: "I would rather have been killed than kill somebody."

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Media captionLeslie Steed, 94, who served with the Friends Ambulance Service in World War II, said he "would rather have been killed than kill somebody"

Other Quakers served with the Friends Relief Service (FRS), the official relief body of the Religious Society of Friends, which worked at home and in mainland Europe to help civilians in distress.

The memorial features six texts carved on to four stone benches, arranged in an open circle to represent unity and equality.

The seats are arranged in an open circle, as they are at many Quaker meetings.

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