Olveston war plaque 'hidden away' in centenary year, says the son of a WW1 vetern

Gazette Series: The memorial in St Mary’s Church, Olveston The memorial in St Mary’s Church, Olveston

THE SON of a war veteran has spoken of his distress after discovering that the First World War plaque bearing his father’s name has been moved to what he called the “darkest corner of Olveston church”.

Victor Rae, 74, said it was an insult to the brave men in their centenary year that the plaque had been moved from inside the main entrance of St Mary’s Church to a side wall “where you can hardly see it”.

Victor lives in Lower Normandy, France, with his wife Maureen, 73, but visits Olveston regularly.

On every visit they go to look at the plaque in St Mary’s Church and the surrounding graveyard where Victor’s mother and father are buried.

His father, Frederic Rea, was born in 1895 and fought in the First World War from 1914 to 1918 with the Royal Hampshire Regiment and the Warwickshire Regiment.

In May last year he found out the plaque had been moved and said it had been on his mind ever since.

“This time when we visited we were very disappointed to have to ask where the plaque was.

“It was gone.

“We found it hidden in the darkest corner of the church on a side wall.

“I was very upset to find it had been moved from the wall inside the main door where it has been for many, many years.

“I think this is an insult to these brave men. We should be remembering them, not forgetting them.

“I feel very strongly that it should be more in a prominent place, especially when this year is the 100th anniversary of the First World War.”

The vicar, the Rev Philip Rowe, said the plaque was moved as part of the restructuring of the church in 2010.

He said: “It was moved so we could put a disabled toilet and disabled access where the old vestry was and we built a new vestry where the plaque was.

“That was why we moved it. Had it been kept where it was it would now be in a choir vestry and not visible at all.

“The decision to move it was approved by the church authority and we did make it known at the time that we were doing it.

"We told the parish and the local people.

“We had to make it known in order to get planning permission. The Royal British Legion were also informed and gave us permission.

“In my opinion the plaque is now in an even more prominent position than where it had been.”

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