Memorial needs protection from tourists

With regard to the letter from Mrs Wood of Barnsley, I would like to echo her sentiments in the strongest possible manner.

Whether those collective ignoramuses who choose to perch on the steps or plinth of the incredible Whitby Memorial are tourists or local people, I have to admit that during our recent visit to my parents who live in town, witnessing responsible adults allowing young kids to clamber all over the engraved words on the memorial was something I do not ever wish to see again.

As the chairman of a branch of the Royal British Legion, many readers would likely have a mental image of me as a wrinkled old fuddy-duddy with flat cap and a string of barely believable ‘war stories’ from some long forgotten campaign.

Far from it, as I am in my mid 40s, and a veteran of Bosnia, The Gulf and Northern Ireland who happens to be at the head of the fastest growing and most active branch of the Legion, the Riders (

I’m not one for encouraging memorials to become shrines, languishing behind fences and walls, but protection of these commemorative places is hugely important and an enormously evocative subject for veterans of all ages, from all walks of life.

Whilst I noticed that facility appears to be available for the beautiful memorial to be cordoned off (the posts have holes in them for a chain of some sort), perhaps it might be worth looking at what other areas have done to protect memorials from the those who would happily deface and damage them without so much as a thought for the reason they exist.

Derby, for instance, has a series of what look like large ‘bullets’ placed into the step to make life exceeding uncomfortable for those wishing to perch upon the step (and they stop skateboarders performing ‘grinds’ on them too).

Whitby is extremely fortunate to have such a stunning and fitting memorial, thanks must go to all of those who contributed towards it.

Let’s not allow it to be ruined by thoughtless people.

Mark Smith

Chairman of the Royal British Legion Riders Branch, Hawthorn Crescent, Findern, Derbyshire