Honiton's missing Silent Soldier is FOUND by siblings exploring River Gissage
PUBLISHED: 14:00 03 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:35 05 September 2018
Honiton's missing Silent Soldier has been discovered ditched in a river by a brother and sister.
Jacob and Jess Curram, who live in the town, were exploring the River Gissage at Honiton Bottom Nature Reserve last Friday (August 31) when they stumbled across the Perspex silhouette - which commemorates 100 years since the end of World War One.
The stunned youngsters dragged out the tribute, which was taken from its station close to Honiton Aldi at the beginning of August, from a tunnel under Battishorne Way.
Jess, 12, ventured into the tunnel to look for sticks and stones for the dam she and her brother were building when she spotted a dark figure ahead of her.
She said: “At first I thought it was my shadow, but then I realised the soldier’s rifle didn’t match up with my shadow.
“I then realised it was the missing Silent Solider.”
Jess shouted for her brother, and the two dragged the silhouette onto the river bank.
Jess added: “My heart was beating really fast.
“It’s been lost for a while and I didn’t really expect to find it. I couldn’t believe it.
“I thought it would be found far away from Devon - not in a place where people walk their dogs.”
Jacob, 11, thinks the solider was dumped or thrown out of a passing car, adding: “People died in the war - it’s not nice to think that someone did not want the Silent Soldier to be in Honiton.”
The siblings alerted their grandmother, Sue Wellstead, who said she had no idea that the figure was missing.
She said: “Jess and Jacob were telling me that it was missing. We didn’t want to just leave it here, it would have seemed wrong so we contacted the Herald.”
Honiton’s community was shocked when news of one its ten Silent Soldiers had disappeared - presumed stolen last month.
Councillor Henry Brown, Honiton’s mayor, said: “I would like to thank Jess and Jacob on behalf of the town council and the whole community.
“You have paid tribute to our fallen heroes by ensuring its safe return. The piece is now in my possession where I will wash it and try my best in restoring it.
“The condition that it was in shows the disdain the thugs responsible had for the sacrifices made by our ancestors.
“We must spread the word of what these symbols represent and what millions laid down their lives for, whether allied and axis.
“Thank you again Jess and Jacob for returning him to us - much like those villages which were fortunate to have all their boys return, we are a ‘thankful town’.”
Paul Shaw, chairman of Honiton’s branch of the Royal British Legion, said he would endeavour to get in touch with the siblings to ensure they are rewarded.