Southwick Park Memorial Church
Southwick Park Memorial Church is both the Station Church and the tri-Service spiritual home for the Service Police.
The Church, which can seat 259 people, was built in 2005, replacing the RMP Chapel at Roussillon Barracks, Chichester and the Navy Chapel of St Peter and St Paul’s, at HMS Dryad. St George’s Chapel at RAF Halton, served the RAF Police prior to 2005. The majority of stained glass windows, the organ, pews and other items found within the Church were purchased with funds raised by individual members and units of the Royal Military Police, which has had a dedicated ‘Corps’ Chapel since the 1950’s.
Dedicated on 27th October 2006, by the Chaplain-of-the-Fleet, the Chaplain-General and the Chaplain-in-Chief Royal Air Force, and its completion celebrated in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, on the 7th June 2007. Southwick Park Memorial Church was the first new military church to be built in recent history.
A short service of prayers is held on Thursdays (at lunchtime) calling to mind serving and retired Service Police throughout the world, their families and those in training or have trained at Southwick Park. RMP Association inter-denominational services are held monthly and other Services are held regularly, throughout the year especially to mark the anniversaries of the Battle of Trafalgar, the Battle of Britain and ‘D-Day, and on Remembrance Sunday. Members of the Royal Military Police may use the Church for their marriages, Christenings, funerals and memorial services.
The Church is also the place where Service Police men and women gather, with their friends and family, to take their Service Police Oath and to receive their Service Police Warrant Cards on successful completion of their Military Police and Special-to-Arm training.
Former Royal Military Policeman Stuart Graham has been Church Warden at Southwick Park since October 2011. His duties were to keep the Church clean and tidy, but over time, his unpaid work has become a ‘Labour of Love’ and the Church is now a warm and welcoming place of worship and remembrance and on entering, one find’s a place of sanctuary and solitude. Along with Stuart “to keep things up-to-scratch”, is Rosemary, his wife of 45 years, and together they ensure that cobwebs are banished along with any dust and crooked hymn books. It was under their eagle-eyed scrutiny that an outbreak of woodworm was averted.
It is hoped that more people discover the warmth and peace that exists in this place of worship and quiet contemplation. Whatever the occasion, Stuart will be there, come rain or shine, to welcome everyone and to ensure all is as it should be in this memorial to those of the Military Police who have given their lives in the service of their Country.