A permanent way to remember fallen
On Armistice Day, it may be of interest to readers to recall a number of things about the Cenotaph that are not common knowledge.
The first version of the Cenotaph was meant to be a temporary part in the Peace Day parade of July 19, 1919. It was, therefore, built out of plaster, cloth and wood.
The original purpose of the Cenotaph was to incorporate the dead in a celebration of military victory. The armed forces were to march through the streets of London, saluting the King. The Cenotaph was meant to be a subsidiary component only.
However, public reaction changed all this. So big were the crowds around the Cenotaph that the parade route had to be altered. The Cenotaph quickly became a centre for mourning. Wreaths came from all over the country, and for many months the Cenotaph was laden.
As a result, the Cenotaph began to disintegrate and it was removed by the Office of Works. The public demanded a replacement, so a stone one was built and unveiled on November 11, 1920.
On the same day the remains of the Unknown Warrior were interred in Westminster Abbey. During the Silence at 11am there were loud shrieks. The pain of loss was still raw.
It should be noted that, until the 1930s, Armistice Day was viewed by many, particularly veterans, as an opportunity for celebration, not mourning. Armistice balls were common in large cities, as were camaraderie gatherings of veterans.
This began to change by 1930. The occasion now became more sombre and solemn. Increasingly it was felt, but not without much argument in the media, that celebrations were inappropriate.
Colonel (retired) Barry Clayton
When will we get better transport?
We in Wyre are facing a crisis of sub-standard infrastructure. In transport. Fleetwood remains the largest town within the UK without a rail link, despite having a great football team and being described as a destination town.
The A585 is at a standstill, as it’s operating over its capacity. Despite this, there have been little improvements to the road, except at West Drive, which was the least needed and at Windy Harbour, which has done nothing at all.
In spite of this, Wyre planners are looking to build a minimum of 4,500 houses on the Wyre coast – another 9,000 cars on roads which are as congested as much as potholed. This is criminal vandalism of the worst kind. Such a plan will crush the area in traffic, leading to falling houses prices and deterring investment in jobs.
To our MPS I say this: What has happened to this passing loop and the blue route relief road? What are you doing to reopen the rail link to Fleetwood?
To our county councillors I say this: Why doesn’t your transport masterplan involve the Fleetwood rail link or any road improvements?
To Wyre council leader I ask him this: Who runs the council, you as the elected leader, or the planners and why did you reject the offered yellow route in 2005?
Look at the picture of Norcross roundabout at 8am. This is the present; I dread to think what the future will be if Wyre Council planners get their way.
What’s with these new ‘traditions’?
Although Halloween and Bonfire Night are still fresh in our memories (the fireworks are still ringing in my ears), it seems it is never too early for companies, corporations and conglomerates to start their festive product puffery.
It seems as though, as each year passes, we are urged to take notice of a new Christmas ‘tradition’.
First, we are assailed by news that a gaudy red truck is touring the land, loaded with sugary drinks, which apparently signals the start of the ‘holiday’ season.
Then Starbucks gets in on the act, replacing their white cups with red ones, signifying the onset of force-fed festivities and Step Into Christmas being played in every branch from the first week in November.
John Lewis get in on the act, as social media dissolves into a frothing spasm over it’s new Christmas ad.
Now we have to brace ourselves for Black Friday, November 27, when our television news programmes will salivate over shoppers trashing the local branch of Tesco for a six foot wide TV.
Of course, anyone who dares question these new ‘traditions’ risks the irony of being branded a Grinch, another one of those Johnny come latelys on the seasonal scene (whatever happened to being a a good old-fashioned Scrooge?).
I understand these businesses are hoping to make money at Christmas, but they are presenting themselves as purveyors of the true spirit of Christmas, full of good cheer and eggnog, when, in fact, nothing could be further than the truth.
Keep the pavement for pedestrians
Pavement parking continues to blight streets up and down the country.
Cars parked on pavements act as an obstruction to people walking, especially for those who are blind or partially sighted, parents with buggies and people in wheelchairs.
I am urging people to write to their local MP, asking them to vote for a bill to be passed at Parliament on 4 December to put a stop to pavement parking. Let’s save our pavements for people and make our streets better places to walk.
Regional Director (North West), Living Streets