A memorial to British soldiers killed in Afghanistan could be dismantled in Camp Bastion and rebuilt at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
Talks have taken place between the Royal British Legion and the British Army about the potential transfer of the memorial to the arboretum near Lichfield.
So far the conflict has seen 444 British soldiers fall in action. Every time the military aircraft carrying the bodies back to England takes off, it makes a low pass over the Camp Bastion memorial.
The memorial, which has a cross made from empty 105mm shell cases, has also seen moving services on Remembrance Sunday, with the likes of Prime Minister David Cameron, former premier Tony Blair and Prince William present. The MoD has announced that all NATO operations in Afghanistan are set to finish in 2014.
The National Arboretum told the Post that it would be delighted to have the memorial.
Spokesman Andrew Baud said: “As the UK focal point for remembrance we would very much welcome it and in terms of families from the Afghanistan conflict it is a natural destination for them.
“It would make sense for it to be located here from a national point of view.
“I understand that top level talks have been held between the Royal British Legion and the Ministry of Defence but I’m not aware that at this stage that anything has been agreed. When the draw down of troops from Basra took place, the Basra memorial wall which had plaques to all those who died in Iraq, it came back here and has been a fantastic addition.
“If the families want the Camp Bastion memorial to be moved here then we would be delighted for that to be the case and it would be seen by more than 300,000 people a year.” There have been many calls for a permanent memorial for families of those who have served in Afghanistan to be able to visit.
An Army spokesman said: “The Government already has plans in place to build a memorial to honour the British Service personnel who lost their lives in Afghanistan.
“They served their country with valour and deserve to have their sacrifice recognised with a permanent memorial here in the UK. An announcement on the details will be made in due course.” It is thought that the Camp Bastion memorial would be a centrepiece of any such permanent site.
An Army source told the Post that the decision on where the Bastion cairn would go in the UK would be taken closer to the end of active operations in Afghanistan.
The memorial was built by men of 23 Engineer Regiment and was specifically designed to be transportable back to the UK at the end of the campaign.
Andrew Baud, spokesman for the Royal British Legion, parent charity of the Arboretum, said: “We would welcome a memorial at the Arboretum and, as the focal point for remembrance in the UK, it would be an entirely fitting location for it. He said the Arboretum has around 300,000 visitors a year, which is rising, and a large number include families who have lost a loved one in Afghanistan or Iraq.