Soldiers invite to march in streets with bayonets branded “inflammatory”

A BID to invite soldiers to march through our streets with fixed bayonets to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War was branded as “inflammatory.”

The proposal was met with mixed reaction when it was presented to members of the council’s cabinet on Monday.

The leader of the Conservative group, Rob Cooke, later said soldiers do not have the right to march with bayonets and the motion was “worded wrongly.”

Councillors Simon Corello and Maureen Charlesworth submitted a motion to commemorate the start of the Great War on July 28, next year.

It asked to work with local former servicemen to hold a day of remembrance and to invite the 47th Royal Artillery Regiment to march with fixed bayonets.

The committee voted unanimously for the authority to lead a local initiative on the commempration. But there was some concern about issue of bayonets.

Cllr Peter Chowney said: “I support the commemoration.

“But I do not think marching through the town with fixed bayonets is right.

“It needs a much more considered approach.”

Cllr Phil Scott said: “For some that might be inflammatory.

“I think we’re in a situation where we need to reflect on the spirit of reconciliation.

“This should continue.”

Cllr Peter Finch said: “The Army may make some comment on that.”

There are likely to be several events across the country to mark the occasion and some across Europe.

Several events are already in the pipeline for the occasion.

Cllr Emily Westley said: “There are leads being planned for the museum.

“There will be other events from residents remembering family members who they lost in the war.

“We have the 14,14,14 eggtooth project which is where 14, 14-year-old will get involved with a special learning and education programme in the 14th year of the century.

“There will also be an exhibition between August and November.”

Speaking after the meeting, cllr Cooke said: “The freedom of the borough does not give soldiers a night to march through the town with fixed bayonets. The motion was worded wrongly and we did not have time to change the details in the cabinet agenda.”