Wednesday, November 12, 2008


War pensioner Charles Brindley has expressed a personal opinion about yesterday's marking of the 90th anniversary of Armistace Day in our town.
Charles explains: "I have just returned from the war memorial in Brigg, being it was on the 11th hour of the 11th day in November, 1918, some 90 years to the hour that the guns fell silent over western Europe, a war as it was then reported, to end all wars.
"I was half-hoping that there would have been representation from Brigg Town Council at least. How wrong could I have been? And given this was the 90th anniversary of the end of the Great War, I hoped that our civic leaders would have led from the front and been there to show their respect for all those who, over a lifetime, have given their lives for Queen and Country.
"However, I ask myself is it just general apathy of all the population, or the lack of interest by the few? After all if YOU have not served with bullets and bombs going off around you, how are you supposed to know what it means to show the respect that is due?"
At this point is should be stressed there is some 'history' - if we can call it that - between Mr Brindley and the town council, on the question of Remembrance Sunday. He has tried, unsuccessfully, to get the authority to hold our Act of Remembrance at exactly 11am, along with the televised one in London, attended by Her Majesty The Queen.
However, for many, many years, Brigg's ceremony has been held nearer to noon - after the service at St John's Church. Earlier this year, after representations from Mr Brindley, the council raised the issue at a public meeting in the town and debated the Remembrance timing at length - before deciding to stay with the current practice.
Insp Brett Rutty, head of policing in the area, suggested there might be a problem with traffic control on the A18 if Brigg moved to 11am, as he has only limited resources and other demands for officers' time in different places in the district.
This year, the town council also produced banners - put up in Bridge Street and on Wrawby Road, near The Monument - to inform townspeople when the road would be closed while the ceremony was taking place.
However, Mr Brindley is still insisting it should be 11am, feeling his request has been ignored. "Perhaps had all those on the Town Council served before the Crown, then they would fully comprehend the importance of the 11th hour, the moment the armistice was signed and the horror of that war ceased," he says.
"Over the past six or so years, the importance of this commemoration is equally, if not MORE important than is has been for many a year, perhaps since Korea. As our servicemen and women face such intense fighting, although it’s no that easy to see who the enemy is, they still have to do their duty, making themselves targets before they are able to engage the enemy."
Town councillors are sure to agree with those final sentiments. The authority puts a lot of hard work into organising the event, including the parade. It's always a very dignified ceremony, whatever time it is held.
My grandad Charles Taylor (1896-1990) was a First World War veteran who lived in Brigg all his life, apart from his time in the forces, where he was a sergeant. Throughout the Second World War he was an NCO in Brigg's Home Guard. Charles, who worked for Layne's garage in Bigby Street, was one of the stalwarts of the British Legion in Brigg well into his 80s, organised poppy collections, and was always well to the fore at Brigg's annual Remembrance ceremony.
I never heard him complain about the time chosen for Brigg to lay its wreaths and sound The Last Post at the Monument.

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