Anger as groups argue against Gosport war memorial plans

ARTIST'S IMPRESSION How the planned new memorial at Stokes Bay would look
ARTIST'S IMPRESSION How the planned new memorial at Stokes Bay would look
Lord General Richard Dannatt

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A ROW over installing a new war memorial at Stokes Bay has escalated as community groups railed against the plans at a meeting.

And as part of the fight, the chairman of Gosport Society said it will try to get concrete remnants of where Mulberry Harbours were made in Gosport listed over fears they could be damaged in the construction of the new site.

As reported, the scheme will move the Canadian stone from one part of the bay to another, next to the Mulberry Harbour one, forming a D-Day memorial site for commemorations next year.

But the leaders of the Friends of Stokes Bay and Gosport Society said the £25,000 memorial is too costly, that an existing Canadian memorial should not be moved and that they had been told the plans were shelved 10 months ago.

Speaking about the concrete remnants at the meeting last night, Roger Mawby, chairman of Gosport Society, said: ‘These are clearly visible behind the (Mulberry) stone in dry summers.

‘There is significant risk this strip will be badly damaged when foundations are laid for the stone wall.’

He said the council should wait until English Heritage responds to the society’s request to list them.

He also added there were still concerns over moving the Canadian stone.

He added: ‘The current location of the (Canadian) memorial was chosen after extensive research into where the Canadian forces embarked. This location is recorded in the Imperial War Museum’s list of war memorials. Moving it would break this historic linkage.

‘The Imperial War Museum said any decision to relocate the memorial must be fully justified and agreed by them.’

Councillor Graham Burgess, the chairman of the community board, said the council would now speak to the body.

In his deputation, Ian Gallet, chair of the Friends of Stokes Bay said its members voted against the plans.

But council leader Mark Hook said it was a ‘duty’ to remember veterans.

Cllr Hook said: ‘Many men left the shores of Stokes Bay on the night of June 5, 1944 and this will be a living monument to all those many thousands.

‘It is only right and proper that we remember where the troops left from and it is their memory that the ceremony will be held.

‘Those serving in D-Day will be in their late eighties or older now. I believe it will be a fitting tribute to those brave veterans to hold the 70th anniversary of D-Day on the shores of Stokes Bay.’

A planning application has yet to be submitted for the new memorial.