Saturday, November 12, 2016

Fury as war veterans' families are barred from marching past the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday over terror fears

  • New rules will only allow veterans and widows to march to the Cenotaph
  • The Remembrance Sunday march attracts 10,000 people on average 
  • But no other family members can participate this year amid terror fears
  • Veterans and family members have been left angered by the new rules 
Veterans have been left outraged after learning that family members are to be excluded from the Remembrance Sunday march past the Cenotaph amid fears of a terror attack.

The terror threat level in the UK is currently 'severe', meaning an attack is 'highly likely.' 
And earlier in 2016 Nadir Syed was jailed for life for plotting to murder someone around Armistice Day in 2014.

For future services, including this Sunday's, only widows of war veterans will be able to take apart in the annual parade, which could have a shortfall of as many as 1,600 people, after Scotland Yard insisted on new 'enhanced security arrangements'.

For years the event has been oversubscribed with around 10,000 people usually joining the annual Whitehall parade.

Family members were permitted to walk to the Cenotaph in London but new rules mean only widows who have met strict criteria can make the walk
Family members were permitted to walk to the Cenotaph in London but new rules mean only widows who have met strict criteria can make the walk

However this year the Royal British Legion has failed to fill its family member allocation after being forced to draw up a strict criteria to boost safety. 

Now only veterans and widows are permitted to make the walk in central London this year.
While those wishing to partake in the march have to register in advance to supply names, addresses and dates of birth and then obtain photo ID. 

The new rules even stipulate that veterans who struggle to walk will be assigned help from someone already taking part and now be allowed support from their family. 

Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of Armed Forces in Afghanistan, told the Telegraph that it was a 'great shame' that children and parents were missing out on the chance to pay tribute to fallen servicemen.

'It cannot be underestimated how much these memorials mean to the loved ones of those who have been lost,' he added.

'I think the Royal British Legion should have been more proactive in the circumstances to make sure every place available was filled.' 

In a statement the British Legion said: 'We stand by the decision to apply more rigorous eligibility criteria for participation in the March Past, which was taken with the agreement of a wide range of stakeholder groups from across the veteran community and government. 

'As a result of this decision every veteran who wants to march past the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday is now able to do so, and we must prioritise those who have served as part of the British Armed Forces.

'The number of participants this year is marginally lower than our limit of 10,000, however we expect to see this figure rise again next year once the new system is more widely understood.'

Sally Aitchison, who has been marching with her veteran father for the past five years at the London service, told reporters that it will be a shame to watch the event from the sidelines. 

The 47-year-old, from Croydon, said: 'I got a call saying I didn't have a ticket because of this and I'm still in a state of shock. Every year I get my father's medals down from where I have them in storage.

'Standing on the sidelines is just never going to be the same,' she added.

BBC banned audience from wearing poppies on Flog It! - because scenes would look 'out of place' when the episode is screened next year 

No comments: