Your guns are 'too violent' for Remembrance Day, mayor tells rifle regiment
Heroes: Chepstow's Remembrance Day parade
Napoleon tried, as did many others.
They all discovered that the riflemen of the British Army do not lay down their arms easily - if at all.
Nonetheless, Hilary Beach decided to call for 1Bn The Rifles to leave their weapons behind at tomorrow's Remembrance Day parade because she feels they are too "violent".
Miss Beach, the Labour mayor of Chepstow in Monmouthshire, said: "I would prefer for there not be any guns at the parade - and raised it because it is an issue I personally feel very strongly about.
"I am very much against guns and think they are awful things. Killing in any war is awful and I am against this violence.
"But I want to make it clear that I hold Remembrance Day as extremely important and it is vital that members of the Armed Forces are in attendance.
"I have always thought about Remembrance Day as a time for peace and to remember those who have lost their lives in combat. However, I think this could be done better without any guns.
"Everybody is worried about the rise in gun crime and violence in this country at the moment, and the destruction these weapons cause is terrible."
If only Miss Beach had boned up on her military history. The Rifles might only have come into being in February this year, but the illustrious history of the four regiments which were merged to create it would have indicated the magnitude of what she was asking.
The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry, the Light Infantry and the Royal Green Jackets all embraced the concept of the rifleman as laid down by General Sir John Moore, the tragic hero of the retreat to Corunna in the Peninsula War.
Miss Beach's plea to the council fell on deaf ears.
Ned Heywood, a former mayor, made one of the opposing speeches.
He said: "Miss Beach is a pacifist and felt unhappy about the Rifles marching with guns through the town. But she received absolutely no support.
"Members of all parties all feel that this is a time to support our armed forces.
"We need them and they do an impossibly difficult job, laying down their lives for the rest of us. I felt this would be undermining them. But it was all very civilised, and Miss Beach accepted the views of the majority."
Phylip Hobson, a fellow councillor, added: "The war veterans have brought guns to the cenotaph since 1918 - guns have always played a part in Remembrance Day.
"We are all very excited about seeing the Rifles in full dress and giving them a warm welcome."
The Rifles - who have only been stationed at Beachley Barracks in Chepstow since August - were not contacted about the discussion and will march with their weapons as planned.
The Royal British Legion said the troops would feel "naked" without their guns.
Banned: Cannons to mark the two minute silence have been banned in Sutton
Tom King, president of its Chepstow branch, said: "What she said is ridiculous. It is nonsense.
"The regiment is called The Rifles, and rifles are an important part of their uniform and their kit. It's like asking a tank regiment to march past on parade without their tanks. She just doesn't understand this."
Tim Merritt, the legion's Gloucestershire manager, added: "Traditionally, our serving soldiers on parade tend to carry arms and I see no good reason why they should not be allowed to."
• A Remembrance Sunday cannon salute at the start and end of the twominute 11am silence has been banned.
The cannon, known as a maroon, used to be fired by the Parks Police service in Sutton, Surrey. But its replacement by a "Safer Parks Team" - a sergeant, two constables and three police community support officers - has led to is being banned because of health and safety fears.
FURY ON THE FELLS
Poppy wreaths have been banned from the 3,000ft summit of Great Gable in the Lake District. For almost 90 years, a mountain-top service has been held there on Remembrance Sunday.
But a dispute broke out this year after the poppy ban by the Lake District Fell and Rock Climbing Club.
Club secretary Paul Exley said: "In the past, members have climbed the mountain and have removed several large rucksacks full of disintegrated, soggy poppy waste.
"This isn't an easy task as the weather is usually awful in late November."
Protesters plan to flout the ban tomorrow - and insist they will clean up after themselves. One of them, Guy Newbold, said: "People laid down their lives in order to protect our freedom from precisely this kind of interference. We intend to lay our wreaths and remember their sacrifices."