Outpouring of anger and sadness after one of Honiton's Silent Soldiers is stolen
PUBLISHED: 12:15 08 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:09 14 August 2018
One of Honiton's ten tributes commemorating the sacrifices of soldiers in World War One has been stolen - an incident which has shocked dignitaries and the town's Royal British Legion.
A life-sized silhouette of a troop - known as a Silent Soldier - was taken from its station next to the Honiton town sign opposite Aldi, on Turks Head Lane.
Paul Shaw, chairman of Honiton’s Royal British Legion branch said the group thinks the tribute was stolen as it was anchored into the ground.
He added: “We firmly believe that there are people out there that do this kind of thing and brag about it on social media.
“We are hoping a name will come to light on who stole it.
“Members of the public cannot directly buy these tributes, and they do not have serial numbers.
“The most saddening thing about this incident is that we had agreed with the mayor of Honiton that these tributes would eventually go to auction, with the proceeds donated to the Poppy Appeal.
“This theft is no different from stealing a Poppy Appeal donation box from the counter of a shop.”
Mr Shaw said the Legion would be more than happy if the culprit returned the silhouette in the place they took it from - and no further questions would be asked.
The Silent Soldiers were installed in Honiton after the town council donated £1,500 towards their purchase.
They are to be displayed in the town until the end of the year.
Councillor Henry Brown, mayor of Honiton said: “I was angered to hear the news this morning that one of the Silent Soldiers displayed around the town - to commemorate 100 years since World War One ended - has been stolen.
“I find this to be an insult to the memory of all our brave boys who laid down their lives in the conflict.
“I hope that the person responsible does the right thing and returns it so that we can continue in our tributes to our fallen heroes.
“Please return the soldier to his site and no more will be made of it.
“Are we really that apathetic that members of our society cannot recognise the ultimate sacrifice given - not just by allied troops but on both sides and by civilians?
“I implore you to return it to us.”
Anyone who knows of the tribute’s whereabouts is urged to call Honiton Royal British Legion or police on 101.