£4 Million Statue Would be ‘Fitting Memorial’ Says MP
ROYSTON SMITH GM, Conservative Member of Parliament for Southampton Itchen, has called on the government to help fund a new national memorial overlooking the former Spitfire factory at Woolston.
Describing the memorial as a “fitting tribute” to those who flew and worked on the iconic fighter interceptor, it would consist of a 131ft (40m) stainless steel replica, one-and-a-half times the size of the actual aircraft, and would be sited in Mayflower Park. Mr Smith told Westminster that the “symbol of freedom” the Spitfire has become would “remind us how we stood up against evil and we prevailed” in a world “divided and troubled”.
He also suggested the memorial be funded through Libor fines levied over interbank lending. The planned memorial received Southampton City Council backing in 2014, when they approved planning permission. Mr Smith also received support from fellow MPs, with Labour MP for Southampton Test, Alan Whitehead, and Eastleigh’s Conservative MP Mims Davies also speaking in favour of a memorial.
Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Ellison, acknowledged the “passionate” comments made in the Commons, and said that the funding proposal would be given “full consideration”.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has marked its centenary with the announcement of a series of projects for 2017. Founded in 1917 while the Great War was still raging, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission stated its aims to promote awareness of its mission to commemorate the dead of both World Wars. Victoria Wallace, CWGC’s Director General, said: “What we have to do is re-engage communities and ensure that for the future, CWGC is not only known but [is] valued.” The projects include a new website with interactive features, the new CWGC education charity, a supporters’ group, and a centenary exhibition. Since its establishment, the CWGC has grown into a global operation commemorating 1.7 million men and women at 23,000 sites in more than 150 countries.
☆ A Great War soldier has been identified three years after the discovery of his remains. Sgt. James Alexander Milne was born in Kincardineshire, Scotland, but emmigrated to Canada. Serving in 10th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Milne was killed on 28 April 1917 during an assault on Arleux-Loop.
☆ A rare set of Second World War medals have sold prior to auction to a mystery buyer. Col. Sir Peter Hilton was one of only 25 men awarded the MC three times, while his wife, Lady Winifred, was a WAAF. Adrian Stevenson, specialist at Hansons Auctioneers and Valuers, said: “We are assured the medals will stay in Derbyshire and it is hoped to have them on public display.”