Silent Soldiers

Silent Soldier

As most of you will recall, we had one of our Silent Soldiers stolen from opposite the Co-Op in Yapton. I felt a personal affront, as I am passionate about Remembrance for the sacrifice that thirty six men from Yapton made in the Great War 1914-1919.

The level of disgust that was shown by members of the Yapton community and from people far and wide was something that was no surprise to me. Was the theft just 'a lark', or was it something deeper? There is little value in the monetary sense, of these figures, but sentimentally they are priceless. They represent our soldiers returning home after a frightening, bloody, but immensely patriotic period in our history.

But the community got together. After the theft was reported on Facebook, a local man, Greig Doyle, not long a resident of Yapton, opened a fundraising account. Many villagers and supporters donated. Co-Op Southern once more donated in order to replace our stolen soldier. He now stands outside Yapton Co-Op. £550 was raised by this appeal and this has been sent to the British Legion. So something good has come from the theft.

Silent Soldier outside the Co-Op store

Yes, any war is a terrible thing. It is not something anyone relishes. But it is something that, luckily, rarely occurs in our history. Though if the time comes when it is necessary, our nation steps up to the mark. The loss of life was dreadful. Not only for the British Army, but for our allies and of course those we opposed. It was the last war where the death toll was, in the main, born by the armed forces of all sides with millions of soldiers, sailors and airmen killed. We remember them all regardless of which side they supported. Christian, Moslem, Jew, Hindu and Sikh and other religions all fought alongside each other for the cause they beieved in.

Each year all across the world we remember the dead of all wars. They are often called "Our Glorious Dead". There is nothing glorious for their next of kin. This is why we hold Remembrance Day. Remembrance Day 2018 was also the Centenary of the Armistice which ended the fighting in the Great War in 1918, with services and commemorations taking place.

I hope the person(s) who stole our Man should feel suitable remorse. For whatever reason they had, they were alone in their action.

Jim Payne
October 2018

(Originally published in Yapton News, November 2018)

There But Not There campaign
Royal British Legion - Silent Silhouettes
Royal British Legion - Remembrance

More on the theft:
Express newspaper
Daily Mail newspaper