A memorial to war dead is always going to be a sombre place. This one can be enjoyed too.
The Air Forces Memorial at Coopers Hill, Runnymede, was opened by Queen Elzabeth II on 17 October 1953. It commemorates over 20,000 airmen & women lost from the Air Forces of the Commonwealth during World War II. The personnel remembered at Runnymede were operating primarily from bases in the U.K. and North Western Europe. Other overseas memorials are dedicated to the 10's of thousands of Commonwealth aircrew killed while serving in different theatres.
The building, designed by Sir Edward Maufe, strikes a satisfying balance of solemnity with decoration. Names of the dead are inscribed on the walls. Colourful coats of arms adorn cloister ceilings.
Built by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, it stands on one of the few high points in the area. There are narrow staircases from shrine up to gallery, then from gallery to roof. The views are pleasant but not spectacular.