WWII vets vow to carry on memorial fight

EX-servicemen and veterans vowed to continue their fight for a permanent tribute to Ipswich Second World War fallen despite being forced to scale down their project.

EX-servicemen and veterans vowed to continue their fight for a permanent tribute to Ipswich Second World War fallen despite being forced to scale down their project.

The Ipswich British Legion have spearheaded a campaign for a £260,000 extension to the cenotaph in Christchurch Park to remember the town's 594 heroes who fought and died for King and country.

It has been a slow process and the fund has only just reached the £60,000 mark, but they are desperate to complete the memorial while World War Two veterans are still alive to see it.

It has meant the British Legion had no option but to revise its plans and fundraise for a reduced scheme costing £128,000.

Ex-serviceman, Peter Thompson, 69, secretary of the British Legion, said: "The memorial is for the people of Ipswich with money raised by Ipswich people and we are just doing the hard work,

"I feel saddened that we have had to scale the project down.

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"Today soldiers are highly trained people and get a reasonable salary. But these people didn't know what they were doing. They were told in seven days they had to go and there was no question of money.

"They didn't know one end of the rifle to the other, they trained with broomsticks some of them. It meant they were just shooting bags when they were out there."

He said all the regimental associations have donated to the appeal including the Ipswich branch of the RAFA who gave £7,590 from the branch closure and £2,000 from RNA Ipswich.

"We have had pensioners donate and they shouldn't be doing that because they have suffered enough. The thing is every rate payer paid just £1 each we would be there."

The new scheme will mean the names of the First World War fallen on the cenotaph will be moved upwards to allow room to include the names of the Second World War killed.

It will also have space for the names of those who have died in subsequent conflicts.

Bur Mr Thompson is keen to get the project started. "We started the appeal in 1998 and the price is going up all the time," he said.

"We want to get it done while people are alive to see it – the average age of the members of the British Legion are 70 to 75.

"We knew after a year or so there was no way we were going to reach our target so we have had to scale our plans down to get the names up.

"People ask us where The Second World War memorial is Ipswich so they can see the names of their relatives but we have to tell them we haven't got one.

"I get so cross sometimes when there are football statues to people which cost a terrific amount of money and all we are asking for is to get the names of those soldiers up."

If you would like to help send cheques to Ipswich World War Two Memorial Fund, The Royal British Legion, 12 St Margaret's Green, Ipswich, IP4 2BS.

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