The Year Was 1944...

Shot at Dawn

Visitors are advised that the Shot at Dawn Memorial will close to the public on Monday 6 May. The memorial will undergo restoration and will be closed for approximately six weeks whilst these works take place. Free Shot at Dawn Talks will continue to take place daily at 12.30pm and 1.30pm in the Millennium Chapel, please ask at the Welcome Desk for more information. Visit our Shot at Dawn Restoration Appeal to find out more and donate.

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In 2024 the National Memorial Arboretum will be reflecting upon and remembering the significant events of the Second World War in 1944.

 In 1944 conflict continued to rage around the world, from the D-Day landings on 6 June, which heralded the beginning of the liberation of western Europe to the Battles of Kohima and Imphal in India that helped to turn the tide of campaigns in the Far East, 1944 was a year of seismic change.

At home continued food rationing and the evacuation of more than a million children from cities due to the terrifying threat posed by bombing raids were just two of the experiences shaping the lives of many living on the home front.  

Over the course of the year, we will be marking the anniversaries of these important events, sharing the stories of those who lived 80 years ago with a programme of events and activities.

Vintage dancing in Heroes' Square

The Year Was 1944...


Travel back to 1944 and join us for a weekend of activity, including live music, dance workshops and children’s vintage themed crafts and games.

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Campaign Anniversaries

18 May – Battle of Monte Cassino

22 June – Battle of Kohima

18 July – Battle of Imphal

25 September - Operation Market Garden

8 November – Battle of the Scheldt

We’ll be marking the 80th anniversaries of these landmark events during our Daily of Act of Remembrance on the dates shown above. A wreath laying will also take place at a memorial of significance to the anniversary at 11.30am.

Black and White image showing Soldiers leaving their boats to fight on D-Day

D-Day 80

The Royal British Legion’s D-Day Service of Remembrance will be held in our grounds on Thursday 6 June, and visitors are welcome to watch the service in the grounds. A limited number of seats in the service area will be available, issued on a first-come-first served basis.


Booking car parking in advance is highly recommended. (£4 in advance, £6 on the day).

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Image of Arboretum Volunteer talking to female visitor at the Burma Railway Memorial

Guided Tours and Trails

4 May - 30 September

Our guided tours and self-led trail will help to bring the stories connected with 1944 to life, and will set the scene for the anniversaries we will be marking this year. Our tours, delivered by one of our expert volunteers, can be booked at our Welcome Desk, where you'll also be able to pick up a copy of the self-led 1944 trail. 

Guided Buggy Tour | £10 per person | 75 minutes

Guided Walking Tour | £7 per person | 75 minutes

Self-Led Trail | Free



Exhibition | The Year Was 1944...


This new exhibition will take visitors on an immersive journey back to 1944, showing what life was like on the home font, sharing the stories of those living during this pivotal year.