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Silent Soliders in Lyme Regis commemorate Great War centenary

SILENT Soldiers are appearing around Lyme Regis to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

The silhouettes stand as a tribute to those who never returned from the war between 1914 and 1918, and those whose lives would never be the same again.

Lyme Regis Town Council is supporting the Royal British Legion’s nationwide Silent Soldier campaign and has purchased five silhouettes to place around the town.

The ‘Coming Home’ campaign represents how soldiers were given a ticket to their home station when they arrived back in Britain and could be seen walking home alone to return to their families.

Lyme’s silent tribute is part of a programme of local events during 2018 to commemorate the centenary and remember the sacrifice given by men and women during the four years of the war leading up to the Armistice in November 1918.

Ian Marshall, chairman of the Lyme Regis branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “By now many of our residents and visitors will have spotted one of the five enigmatic Silent Soldiers who have appeared around the town over the past week.

“Lyme Regis Town Council has wholeheartedly embraced the idea which was suggested to it by the local branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL).”

Mr Marshall said the idea originally came from the Dorset county RBL fundraiser JJ Jarvis, whose Surrey counterpart introduced the idea in his county.

The campaign has now spread across the nation and the silhouettes can be seen on roundabouts, in fields, in the countryside and in towns.

Mr Marshall said: “You may wish to join Dorset RBL in remembering those who lost life and limb all those years ago.

“It is fitting therefore that the town council has chosen to adopt this great initiative, particularly as this year we will be especially remembering the 63 servicemen of Lyme Regis who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Great War.

“This total includes four brave men whose names were not recorded on the town war memorial but who will be included on a series of rededicated tablet stones to be unveiled later this year.”

The programme of commemoration events in Lyme Regis will include the Poppy Run, a showing of War Horse at the Marine Theatre, a Festival of Remembrance, and a poppy garden in the Langmoor Gardens.

More details about the commemoration events will be announced in the coming weeks.

Lyme Regis mayor, Cllr Michaela Ellis, said: “We hope the community will come together to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, and particularly to pay tribute to the local servicemen who lost their lives, but also those who returned home and the families who were left behind.

“The Silent Soldiers are a fitting and poignant tribute to them and the countless others who gave their lives.”

The five soldiers are located on the entrances into the town and in the seafront gardens, where they will be moved around regularly.

If you are a local business or resident who would like to display a Silent Soldier in your garden and you would like to embrace this poignant symbol of remembrance, please contact Ian Marshall for more details at lymeregis.chairman@rbl.community