Throughout this autumn and winter the CWGC will be renovating the painted shrine and cloister ceilings at Runnymede Memorial. The work will be completed in two phases; first the shrine during which there will be restricted access, and thereafter mobile works throughout the cloisters. During the works to the cloisters there may temporarily be restrictions to certain bays. Should these works restrict a visit to any particular commemoration or bay please do not hesitate to speak to the staff on site.

Country United Kingdom
Region Surrey
Total identified casualties 20275 Find these records
Casualties from Second World War

Overlooking the River Thames on Cooper’s Hill in Runnymede, Surrey, is Runnymede Memorial, sometimes known as the Air Forces Memorial. The memorial commemorates more than 20,000 airmen and women who were lost in the Second World War during operations from bases in the United Kingdom and North and Western Europe who have no known grave.

The Royal Air Force saw some of the earliest action of the Second World War when on 4 September 1939, the day after war was declared, Blenheim and Wellington bombers attacked German shipping near Brunsbüttel and Wilhelmshaven. In those raids seven aircrafts were lost and 25 airmen killed, the first casualties in what would become a worldwide struggle to gain mastery in the air upon which victory depended.

key features

  • The memorial commemorates the men and women of the air forces of the Commonwealth who were lost in air and other operations over western Europe during the Second World War
  • Designed by Sir Edward Maufe, it is made of Portland stone and consists of a shrine embraced by a cloister
  • The shrine is adorned with three stone figures by Vernon Hill representing Justice, Victory and Courage
  • The engraved glass and painted ceilings were designed by John Hutton and the poem engraved on the gallery window was written by Paul H Scott
  • The memorial was unveiled on 17 October 1953 by Queen Elizabeth II
HRH The Queen visiting Runnymede Memorial


The struggle for control in the air lasted through the war, costing the lives of more than 116,000 men and women of the Air Forces of the Commonwealth.

Explore the history
A map showing the Runnymede Memorial


The memorial is open to the public every day except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. There is disabled parking available on-site in front of the memorial.

plan your visit