Exmouth Royal British legion member resigns over memorial mistake

A LONG-STANDING member of Exmouth’s Royal British Legion has resigned following a mistake in not inviting the family of Kinikki Griffiths to a memorial service.

Christine Doe, a former secretary, committee member and standard bearer, announced she would stand down from the organisation at a meeting held last week.

She said this was because of the embarrassment Mr Harvey-May, chairman of the Exmouth branch, caused by not notifying the Griffiths of a forthcoming dedication service to mark the addition of his name to the town’s war memorial.

“I spoke to the family and apologised for what had happened on behalf of the Royal British Legion,” she said.

Christine, a teacher at Withycombe Raleigh Primary, added: “There was not one person at the meeting who was not horrified by the action, or lack of action, of Mr Harvey-May.”

The service was initially earmarked for February 19 but has now been cancelled as a result of the error. It is hoped to reschedule the ceremony for this April.”

Senior RAF Aircraftman Kinikki Griffiths was killed in a vehicle accident while serving in the vicinity of Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, last year.

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His name was added to Exmouth’s War Memorial in December – though, the Griffiths’ family say they were also not notified of this.

Lionel Howell, from the Exmouth War Memorial Fund, said: “I got all the order of services produced on the basis that Mr Harvey-May had been in touch with the family and everything was OK.

“I’m ashamed of the situation because, had I known that he failed to contact the Griffiths, I would not have gone ahead and arranged the service.

“I had no means of contacting them myself as I did not have their correspondence details.

“Never again will the Exmouth War Memorial Fund allow anybody else to take over the reigns of such a service.”

Mr Harvey-May, who accepted he had made a mistake, said: “I’m primarily responsible for getting the money in - for the names to be added to the memorial.

“I organised a fund within the British Legion so we could get the two names we needed to be added and for any in the future.

“This has been very successful because we’ve now got enough money for if there was another unfortunate occasion.

“With regards to the organisation of the dedication (service), that in the past, has always been done by Lionel Howell and Bernard Greenaway, chair of the memorial fund.

“I assumed they would be doing it.”

Mr Harvey-May said, on this occasion, he did volunteer to contact the Griffiths’ family and the widow of Corporal Stephen Walker, Leona.

“I was going on holiday at the very last minute and hadn’t managed to contact anybody (prior to going away).

“I can only apologise because I couldn’t change my plans and failed to contact them before I left.”