The leader of the Welsh Conservatives has called for cross-party support to protect the nation’s war memorials from vandalism and neglect.
Paul Davies said that for generations, Wales had “punched above its weight” in terms of the numbers of its residents that have joined the Armed Forces.
The Preseli Pembrokeshire AM made his request during a debate in the Senedd on November 6, 2019. In a speech timed to coincide with Remembrance Week, he described the memorials – some 3,000 in Wales and 10,000 in the UK – as “…an essential part of the cultural and social fabric of Wales and Britain”.
“We owe our fallen heroes nothing less, and our future generations must remember and never forget those who died for our freedoms,” he said.
“By doing so, they can learn from previous conflicts so that they are never repeated again.”
While he recognised the value of CADW’s Grants for War Memorials in Wales scheme, and its partnership with the War Memorials Trust to provide funding for the repair and conservation of memorials across Wales, he described funding as “only one piece of the puzzle”.
Launching the campaign – #NeverForgetOurWarMemorials – Mr Davies said he foresees each local authority, in close collaboration with community groups and organisations, to have a specific custodian whose job it would be to identify and preserve war memorials in their areas.
“Each village, town, and city in Wales has a war memorial, some going back to the Boer War, and some that have had names added much more recently following conflicts in Korea, The Falklands, The Balkans, and operations in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.
“We owe it to these brave men and women to protect and conserve each memorial in every county in Wales.
“So, take a selfie of yourself next to your nearest war memorial, and post it on social media using the hashtag #NeverForgetOurWarMemorials in time for Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day.
“Together, we will remember them.”