First World War memorial in Yapton has head ripped off in 'mindless act of vandalism'

The vandalised Silent Soldier
The vandalised Silent Soldier

A statue installed to commemorate the centenary of Armistice Day has been vandalised in Yapton.

The Silent Soldier silhouette, which is fixed to the wall outside the Co-op in Main Road, has had its head removed.

The Silent Soldier with its head reattached

The Silent Soldier with its head reattached

It was one of three tributes installed around the village in the build-up to last year’s Remembrance Day in collaboration with the Royal British Legion

Yapton’s Jim Payne led the acquisitions of the silhouettes and suggested the vandalism was a result of ignorance rather than outright malice.

“Someone ripped the whole head off, but it was probably just someone having a lark,” he said.

“They probably didn’t realise how much it means to so many of us.”

Jim said the head had been left on the ground next to the statue, so today (May 22) he screwed it back on the wall above the soldier, leaving a small gap to show that it had been vandalised.

It is not the first time vandals have targeted the First World War tribute.

In October, a fundraiser was set up to replace the £250 statue after it was stolen from outside the Co-op.

More than £750 was raised for the Royal British Legion, including £250 from the Co-op, before Jim screwed its body to the wall to prevent further thefts.

Rebecca Gardener, manager at Yapton’s Co-op store, said: “Having funded the first tribute and then contributed towards its replacement, this latest mindless act of vandalism has really upset a lot of our customers and colleagues. The war memorials are a gentle reminder of an important part of our history.

“We have been told that the two villagers who helped organise the replacement are incredibly upset – understandably. However, we have collected the damaged pieces and are liaising with the parish council in the hope that it can be repaired.”