A multi-million pound appeal has been launched to commemorate the sacrifice of thousands of British servicemen and women.

The Armed Forces Memorial will honour some 16,000 Britons who died in service or as a result of terrorism since the end of the Second World War. It will include space for future victims.

Unlike traditional war memorials, organisers say the new national tribute is unique in recognising service members killed on duty, not during specific conflicts.

Members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Merchant Navy who died in conflict zones in direct support of the Armed Forces will also be included.

Jenny Green, chairman of the War Widows Association of Great Britain and president of the RAF Widows Association, urged people to support the appeal.

She said: "I speak on behalf of thousands of widows and their families, many of whom do not have a place to visit to remember their loved ones.

"The Armed Forces Memorial will provide national recognition of those killed on duty and serve as a permanent reminder of the sacrifices that were made." She added: "It will be particularly relevant to subsequent generations who so often never had the chance to know their parents or grandparents.

"This memorial will mean a great deal to many people, but especially to the children."

The £4 million appeal was launched at the Imperial War Museum with the official unveiling of the winning design by architect Liam O'Connor. It is planned for the National Arboretum in Staffordshire and will be made of Portland stone, engraved with the names of each serviceman and woman.