Vandals trash Remembrance Day wreaths laid in Wigan

Disgusted military and history enthusiasts have spoken out after Remembrance wreaths were ripped down and thrown around in Wigan.

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 8:54 am
Tom Catterall and Dave Myers, from the Wigan Royal British Legion, replace the poppy wreaths after they were stolen and later found vandalised

The red poppy displays which had been used to commemorate the fallen at the site of the town’s old drill hall were found buried under a pile of leaves.

Those responsible appear to have cut through the ties used to secure the wreaths to a tree at the Powell Street location before they were tossed to the ground.

The incident, which was discovered on Armistice Day barely 24 hours after they were put in place on Remembrance Sunday, has echoes of the notorious video footage of a lout hurling a war memorial wreath into the road in Ince which sparked a wave of condemnation.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Three damaged wreaths, which were laid during a short ceremony to remember the Drill Hall and the many Wigan men who enlisted and trained there ahead of the main parade in the town centre on Sunday, are now back in place.

However, those who put them there have been left shaking their heads in disbelief that anyone could act in such a way towards a memorial to those killed on the front line.

Royal British Legion member Dave Myers said: “They were found hidden or buried in a pile of leaves on the grass opposite the billboards at the bottom of Standishgate.

“I don’t understand the mentality of some people. They are just jokers.

“It looks like they have been cut off the tree and then skimmed into the grass. They’ve basically been used as frisbees.

“You can tell from the damage to the wreaths that they have been thrown. One has been dragged and then it looks like there has been an impact. The other two aren’t too bad.

“It’s just ridiculous. It looks like it happened on Armistice Day too, which is even more disrespectful.

“We put a lot of effort and organising into Remembrance and then people do that.”

Mr Myers, who is from Whelley, says it is the second year in a row that wreaths have been tampered with following the ceremony where the drill hall used to be.

The commemoration on the grassed area next to the dual carriageway draws members of the Duke of Lancasters Own Yeomanry, the 5th Battalion Manchester Regiment Historical Association and borough branches of the Royal British Legion.

Mr Myers says a single wreath laid last year simply disappeared from the site after a couple of days.

A member of the Wigan branch of the Legion noticed this year’s wreaths had gone missing on Monday but Keith Holland from the Duke of Lancasters Own Yeomanry went to the site and located them.