Tories plan face-lift for shabby war memorials

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Shabby and outdated war memorials would be refurbished by a Tory government, said Iain Duncan Smith, the Shadow Defence Secretary.

Shabby and outdated war memorials would be refurbished by a Tory government, said Iain Duncan Smith, the Shadow Defence Secretary.

Mr Duncan Smith said that cleaning up and improving the state of memorials would be a "fitting tribute" to Britain's war dead. The nation is to pay its respects to the fallen today - Remembrance Sunday.

He estimated it would cost just £1m to smarten up decaying cenotaphs, add the names of people who had died in conflicts after the Second World War and, where necessary, move memorials from "inappropriate" places.

The proposals have received the backing of the Royal British Legion, which last year urged all local councils to improve local war memorials as a "Millennium gesture".

Charles Lewis, the Legion's controller of public affairs, said: "In some areas they are pretty badly damaged or have graffiti on and there is a general lack of respect for them and we find that disappointing and, in some cases, reprehensible."

Many list the names of local people who gave their lives in the World Wars but do not include soldiers who died in Korea, the Falklands war, and other conflicts.

Mr Duncan Smith claimed that a number are surrounded by barbed wire while others are in unpleasant surroundings; one in east London is at the entrance of a rubbish tip.

But evidence from a lottery-funded survey for the National Inventory of War Memorials revealed that of the 33,000 on computer so far, a mere 260 have been judged to be of "poor condition". The survey is the largest survey of public art ever undertaken in Britain.

Comments