Plans announced last week to turn two granite gate posts in the Town Square at the Willow Brook shopping centre into a war memorial for Bradley Stoke have attracted ridicule in the national press because no resident of the town has been killed in military action.
The project, promoted by the 1st Bradley Stoke Scout Group and Cllr Ben Walker, first came to light at the Bradley Stoke Festival on 8th June, where visitors to the Scouts’ stand were asked to participate in a “public consultation” to choose the wording for the inscription on one of the two black plaques that will constitute the memorial.
In a press release put out last week, the Scouts revealed more details about the project and announced the winning phrase as the traditional “we will remember them”.
However, the need for a memorial has been questioned in some quarters, leading to suggestively disdainful headlines in the regional and national press.
BBC Bristol led the way on Thursday with an online piece titled “Bradley Stoke war memorial to be erected for ‘those yet to die’“, in which the chairman of a local Royal British Legion county branch is quoted as saying the construction could only be called a ‘war memorial’ if local people had died in conflict.
This was followed by “Town erects blank war memorial ‘for future deaths‘” in The Telegraph Online on Friday and then “The town war memorial that has no names and has been left blank for future wars” in the Daily Mail Online on Saturday.
What do you think about the war memorial proposal? Leave a comment on this story and complete the Journal poll in the sidebar of this website to let us know.
Katherine Robinson, Beaver Scout Leader and an ex-Royal Naval Nurse, who is fronting the Scouts’ side of the initiative, points out in the press release that there are many wartime connections in the surrounding area, such as the former Bristol Aeroplane Company (BAC) at Filton, and she also mentions that a decoy airfield (for Filton) was set up during WWII on farmland that now lies within the boundaries of Bradley Stoke.
“I felt it was a great shame that a town the size of ours does not have somewhere where we can hold a proper Remembrance parade. I view Remembrance Sunday as a very special event and I see it as my duty to ensure the next generation not only learns about it, but actively carries on the tradition of Remembrance.”
It is hoped to hold the inaugural Remembrance parade on Sunday 10th November 2013. An official dedication ceremony will take place on a date still to be confirmed, prior to the first parade.
Roll of honour appeal
Katherine Robinson says:
“We would very much like to know if anyone has someone they would like us to consider including in the roll of honour on the memorial? As I have already alluded to, there are few restrictions on inclusion, so we are happy to consider those who fought and died, fought and survived (and have now passed away) or civilians involved in conflicts past or present (including those in a “reserved occupation”). Wherever possible we would like to verify their details with relevant agencies so please ensure correct spellings and include as much information as possible. For example, details such as: Full Name, Date of Birth, Date of Death, Service Number, Rank, Regiment, Force, Place of Death, any Battles/Conflicts known or any Medals would be helpful. Suitability of candidates will be decided by the Friends of Bradley Stoke War Memorial. You can submit a written response to: Management Suite, Willow Brook Centre, Savages Wood Road, Bradley Stoke, Bristol, BS32 8BS or via email to FriendsofBSWM@gmail.com“
The Scouts are also asking if anyone knows of a marching band that would be available to attend the inaugural Remembrance parade (please get in touch with them using the same contact details as above).
Photo: Artist’s impression of how the war memorial will be created by mounting two plaques onto the existing gate pillars in the Town Square.
The pillars on which the memorial plaques are to be mounted are themselves representative of a gateway at a chateau in Bradley Stoke’s twin town of Champs-sur-Marne, France.
There will be more on this story in the July edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine, distributed FREE to all homes in Bradley Stoke.
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