Legion said nothing
PUBLISHED: 07:10 02 May 2014
May I please comment on your front page story in last week's Journal, regarding the wreaths removed from the Strand war memorial and subsequent comments of others within the paper.
Firstly, no one has ever mentioned publicly that they were being kept in place for a year as a ‘tribute’ to the memory of those lost in World War One.
In the past it has always been right and proper to remove the wreaths at around Christmas time once the logos start to deteriorate, as these were.
The Royal British Legion Exmouth branch has NEVER had any say with regards to our memorial other than around Armistice Day. It has always been cleaned and cared for by local and other willing groups, with no assistance from the RBL.
In 1996 the 531st Tribute Fund cleaned, paid for repairs and, along with the great efforts of East Devon District Council, kept the memorial pristine and this was then undertaken by the War Memorial Fund with money provided from donations from the wonderful people of Exmouth.
Disagreements became more evident once the Strand Gardens were removed and what is now in place, was put in their place.
At NO time has the RBL had any say in what should or should not be the norm. If they had wanted input then they should have been elected at one of the numerous meetings held in the RAFA club, but they were not.
Mr Trail took over as chairman of the Exmouth War Memorial Fund on mine and Mr Greenaway’s standing down due to poor health and he has so far done an excellent job and we hope will continue to do so.
The wreaths on this occasion were looking very storm tossed and weary and they had been in place for four months longer than normal and the time was right to make the memorial look in a pristine condition once more ready for forthcoming events to honour our war heroes once more.
Other memorials have to be clear of wreaths within one month or we were charged £32+ for EDDC to clear them. Surely then it is time for the War Memorial Fund to agree once and for all on what they believe to be correct and act accordingly, as is their remit as guardians of the War Memorial.
Mr Trail was acting within his rights at the time as the RBL never made their intentions clear as to why the wreaths were still in place against previous protocol.
Obviously a clear mode of intention would have been proper ... fresh wreaths would have been preferable.
Lionel R Howell
Exmouth War Memorial Fund