I REFER to Mr Thompson’s letter (19 January) on the subject of the protection of our national war memorials.
He may not be aware of a project called In Memoriam 2014, being run by The War Memorials Trust in partnership with the SmartWater Foundation, Royal British Legion and the Cadet Forces.
To quote from their website, they aim to “locate, log and protect thousands of war memorials across the United Kingdom using cutting-edge forensic technology”.
Rather than create a National War Memorial Restoration Fund as Mr Thompson has suggested, Prime Minister David Cameron stated this month he would like to see the Heritage Lottery Fund provide more money for war memorial projects in the next few years.
War memorials were not an invention of the First World War. The oldest community war memorial in Scotland was built in Balmaclellan after the Crimean War, but the scale of losses between 1914 and 1918 ensured that practically every community, school, church, club and large business created a memorial or roll of honour.
That means there are tens of thousands of war memorials in the UK and it is, therefore, unlikely there will be enough Lottery money to go round. The In Memoriam protection will only extend to memorials with metal fixtures. Stone memorials, of which there are hundreds across Scotland, will not be safeguarded.
Our civic memorials, built in 1920s, are now showing the effects of 90 years of Scottish weather and, in some cases, years of neglect. Local authorities are responsible for some but even then the question of ownership is debatable, making repair work problematic if co-ordinated at a national level.
If Mr Thompson wants a national collection of safe and pristine war memorials then it will be up to local communities and local organisations to take the initiative to seek the necessary funding.