The memorial commemorates Royal Navy personnel based at Chatham killed during the two world wars and whose only grave is the sea. The memorial also commemorates some personnel who died ashore but have no known grave.
The names on the memorial are arranged according to year of death. Those for the First World War appear on panels located around the obelisk (shown in the picture above). Those for the Second World War appear on panel located on the surrounding wall. Within each year, the names are group by service then by rank and surname.