Paul Davies AM is calling for cross-party support to protect the nation’s many war memorials from vandalism and neglect.
Mr Davies, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Assembly, made his request during a debate in the Senedd yesterday (November 6, 2019).
In a moving speech timed to coincide with Remembrance Week, he described the memorials – some 10,000 in the UK – as “…an essential part of the cultural and social fabric of Wales and Britain”.
He said: “We owe our fallen heroes nothing less, and our future generations must remember and never forget those who died for our freedoms. By doing so, they can learn from previous conflicts so that they are never repeated again.”
The Member for Preseli Pembrokeshire recognised the value of CADW’s Grants for War Memorials in Wales scheme, and its partnership with the War Memorials Trust to provide funding for the repair and conservation of memorials across Wales, but described funding as “only one piece of the puzzle”.
Launching the campaign – #NeverForgetOurWarMemorials – Mr Davies said he foresees each local authority, in close collaboration with community groups and organisations, to have a specific custodian whose job it would be to identify and preserve war memorials in their areas.
Outside the Chamber, Mr Davies – whose constituency includes Herbrandston, a doubly Thankful Village* – said:
“Each village, town and city in Wales has a war memorial, some going back to Boer War, and some that have had names added much more recently following conflicts in Korea, The Falklands, and operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Mr Davies said that for generations, Wales has punched above its weight in terms of the numbers of its residents that have joined the Armed Forces, and added:
“We owe it to these brave men, and increasingly women, to protect and conserve each memorial in every county in Wales. So, take a selfie of yourself next to your nearest war memorial, and post it on social media using the hashtag #NeverForgetOurWarMemorials in time for Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day. Together, we will remember them.”