Bradley Stoke war memorial plans ridiculed in national press

Artist's impression of how Bradley Stoke's new war memorial will look.

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.

She adds:

“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

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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  1. I’m not at all convinced that Bradley Stoke, today, needs a war memorial.

    Worst than that I think it is utterly, utterly crazy to try and pin it to an already existing sculpture in order to save money. When there are real war memorials in and around Bristol why would we want to make a fake one by randomly tacking a plaque onto something.

  2. Great idea, lets preempt and will people to die in future battles, just to fill a plaque. Better still let’s look to proactively honour those who have lost their lives just to justify the cost. Laughable but feel sorry for the scouts really who’s good intentions have been generally led astray by a brain fart.

  3. What an utterly ridiculous idea, a war memorial should be a dedicated structure, not something tacked on to a pair of gate posts that look like the entrance to a tacky Chinese Restaurant.
    Would we really have a Remembrance Sunday parade in Tesco’s carpark on a Sunday morning, in and out of the shopper’s cars. I guess it could be sponsored by all the local shops though as they all feature in the photo!

  4. It does seem somehow “wrong”. Plus the siting of a remembrance memorial on two, quite unimpressive, fake gate posts seems wrong too.

    I, too, feel for the Scouts, as they have undoubtedly not been well advised.

  5. Many many residents of Bradley Stoke will have relatives and friends who died in war. Even if the town wasn’t built then. So why not have somewhere for them to remember their loved ones?
    I’d be more concerned that it’s slap bang in front of a whole load of shops. KFC is hardly a fitting backdrop. Couldn’t it be in the nature reserve or by one of the council offices?

  6. I’m absolutely livid!
    The Daily Telegraph describes the plaques as being in “Willow Brooke Centre….in the Newly-built town Bradley Stokes”
    Don’t these journalists do any research?!

  7. I may be in a minority but with grandparents who fought in the Second World War, and friends who are in the military right now, I think a place where we can honour everyone who fights for freedom is a great idea! Just because we don’t have anyone currently living in Bradley Stoke who has died in conflict (or have we????) why can’t we remember everyone who makes the ultimate sacrifice? The Scouts want a focal point for a parade and where else would anyone suggest they congregate – this is supposed to be our Town Centre (not just a shopping mall) so why not bring people here for reasons other than honouring the mighty ££. Rant over 🙂

  8. Ah, a crazy idea to get glory by a boasting councillor. the scouts mask is to just cover himself. If the serving and ex service community and their families likes to have one, the Royal British Legion would have come forward. This one is only political stunt. Oh Gosh, this guy is like a wolf who wants to kill our serving officers and get its glory.

  9. Just wondering what Cllr Ben Walker’s agenda is here? I’m all in favour of supporting our forces and remembering the fallen but not sure what his motive is here. I know Cllr Walker is ex-Royal Navy? Just wondering if he has seen any active service in maybe the Falklands or The Gulf as such? I know he was sporting a medal at a Remembrance Service but just wondered what Operation or War it was from? If he has seen active service then I would certainly understand his pushing for this memorial. Maybe Ben might let us know.

  10. A plaque tacked on to an existing pointless structure surrounded by fast food outlets…hardly the place to truly remember the fallen

  11. I like the idea of a place of memorial to visit, to remember those grandparents , parents, family & friends lost , fighting for our freedom. It is an essential place to bring our community together and to show our respect.
    I do not like a blank plaque , its as if we are waiting to fill it up with names , that makes me feel a bit sick.
    As much as the willow brook centre is supposed to be a hub of our community , its a shopping centre , so I do not think this is the correct place . Paying my respects to the our fallen , with the smell of BBQ ribs & a subway meatball melt is not right.
    I am sure with some better thought our council could come up with a much better more respectful place in Bradley stoke could be found.

  12. I agree with a number of the previous posts, this is surely not the correct place for a war memorial.

    Somewhere much more peaceful and private would be more appropriate

  13. The proposed siting for a memorial is just wrong for all the reasons mentioned above. And what happens when Tesco (who own the site) decide they want to re-develop, again?
    Surely a better place would be on the Jubilee Green, which is already the focus of town gatherings for fireworks and the festival (just not next to the council offices and not a tacky plaque on a gate post).
    If we’re going to do it, let’s do it properly.

  14. I like many others commenting here didn’t really believe this story when we first heard it, but YES, it is true. As said previously I think the Scouts have been led up a path by Cllr Walker without quite understanding that he has a different agenda to them. I heard recently he’s been touting for support for an mention in the Hounors list. Whether this is true or not we’ll have to wait and see, but if he thinks he can use this idea to promote himself I hope he will be disappointed.

    Some residents obviously support some sort of memorial to be erected somewhere in the town and I wouldn’t want to oppose the idea, but lets discuss this in a proper way and choose a location that would be suitable. Over to the Town Council to lead on this.

  15. The idea of war memorials having to be where people who gave the ultimate sacrifice lived is incorrect. Abbey Wood has a memorial plaque set in the middle and nobody has ever lived there. Additionally the National Arboretium is by its very nature in a remote location. However not withstanding this the Willow Brook Centre is not a place I would like to stand to remember my fallen friends and comrades. But as a resident of BS, I along with the many other service personnel who live here, find it frustrating that we must venture elsewhere to pay our respects. There must be a suitable site in the town that would allow gathering of folks to pay their respects and allow individuals peaceful contemplation of those they knew and loved and the sacrifice they have paid such that we can live freely in a pleasant, safe town.

  16. Never mind what was in the area, memorials are in memory of local residents who have fallen.

    At the end of previous hostilities, no one felt the need to erect one, it seems there are no locals fallen in recent hostilities, so who is it remembering?

    The self important “look at me” busy bodies, that’s who it is remembering.

  17. Whatever our views on the (War) Memorial, it should not be on privately owned land. I do not believe the Town Square is owned by Tesco but by the Willow Brook Centre.

  18. Have read the comments, and don’t think Clr Walker is leading people and scouts up the garden path. IIRC way back sometime between 2006-2011, when I was a Town Councillor, it was proposed that a “memorial wall” be put up where the McCarthy and Stone flats now sit. The idea being that it would be a central point within BS for people to go on Remembrance Sunday. I am sure if people look back through the records of council meetings, they will find that this is not a new idea, just a new location.

  19. I’m really not bothered if a new war memorial is erected anywhere in Bradley Stoke, but if it wasn’t for the servicemen from back in the day till now, would there have ever been a Bradley Stoke? Especially World War 2 if Germany successfully invaded…

  20. Stop this lunatic scheme now. For once our “elected” representatives need to listen to the people funding their hare-brained egocentric schemes. It’s already an embarrassment and will bring even more derision on the town and any participants if some sort of service is held there on Remembrance Day. If you really want to pay your respects to the fallen buy a poppy, better still set up a direct debit and remember them every month.

    Ben Walker is an idiot. He does not represent the views of serving personnel or former service men and women, he represents himself time and time again. The Conservative party realised what a liability he was and offloaded him in short order. Now they’ve discovered it’s genetic and are offloading his sister.

    What to debate it Ben? Simple let’s have a Bradley Stoke referendum.

  21. The proposal for a garden of remembrance from the ‘Bradley Stoke in Bloom Group’ is a fabulous idea, the proposed location opposite the Hollow Tree pub is a beautiful yet neglected sight, what better place for a war memorial, a war memorial should not just stand for the loss of local lives but as a place local people can go to pay their respects to those not only they have lost but for those that gave their lives for us, wherever they were from, it would also stand as an ongoing education to young people growing up in this community to learn and be reminded what these brave people did for us. There are many families in Bradley Stoke and surrounding areas who have relatives who have served or who are serving their country who should have somewhere to show their respects. I cannot think of anywhere more perfect for it to be situated than a garden of remembrance. I would like to think that the proposal is given serious thought and consideration and not brushed under the carpet or tucked away as an embarrassment. Those brave men who gave their lives for us should be forever remembered.

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