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Terror attack fears force elderly army veterans to march past huge haulage truck for protection at Armistice Day parade

War veterans were forced to march alongside huge haulage trucks during an Armistice Day[1] parade over fears the procession could be targeted by terrorists. Members of the Army,[2] RAF, and Navy, as well as cadets, guides, scouts and bands, all navigated around the four huge vehicles in the interest of safety. The measures were taken after police told Bedworth Armistice Day Parade organisers the annual event could be at risk in September.

The bright white, red and orange vehicles – which had ‘Bedworth Haulage Ltd’ written on the side of them – were used to block main entrances to the town. Around 50 police officers were also seen at the march in Bedworth, Warwickshire, which is widely regarded as one of the country’s biggest commemorations of those who lost their lives in the war.

Elderly army veterans were forced to navigate around the huge vehicles

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The two hour parade went ahead as planned and attracted “thousands” of spectators, before locals gathered round the Bedworth war memorial for a two minute silence. Poppies were then seen falling from the sky during a brief flyover.

Gil Leach, 78, the former chairman of the Bedworth Armistice Day Parade Group, has remained heavily involved in the organisation of the event. Speaking in September about the need for extra security, he said: “It is one thing after another, they said that we need to get JCBs or other large vehicles that can be locked to block off the main entrances, I thought it was the police’s job to be protecting us? “It is yet another job that we have to do to make sure that the parade can go ahead.”

However, speaking on Saturday, he said: “You have to be careful these days, and you have to take all the necessary precautions. “The trailers may be a bit of an eyesore, but this is the way the world is today. It’s sad, yes, but the police have a duty to protect the people.

Cadets, guides, scouts and bands were also all present at the parade Police told organisers in September to create the safety measures

“If they feel like something like that is necessary then we’ll do it, regardless of whether or not it may be an eyesore.

“We haven’t done anything like this before, but like I say, it’s the way that the world is moving these days. “We were advised to do it, so we’ve done it. We’ll do whatever is necessary to ensure that the event goes ahead smoothly next year, too.

“The trailers are effectively there to stop vehicles getting into the parade, and because they’re mobile, they’re able to move out the way if an ambulance comes. Thankfully that was necessary, though. “It was a fairly lengthy procession, and there were only be four of them, so it’s not been massively intrusive.

“I don’t think that any of that should detract from what we are here for today, which is to remember those that gave their lives to protect us.

The parade went ahead without issue

“That’s why we’re here, and that shouldn’t be overshadowed by anything else.” Mum-of-one Makayla Rudkin, 45, who works as a service manager, attends the event every year and is on the organising committee. Speaking after the parade, she said: “This is an incredibly important day for everyone in Bedworth, and I think it’s a fantastic event.

“There has definitely been a noticeable difference in security this year. “It’s a sad indictment of where we are these days that it’s necessary, I think. “It does make people feel safer, which is obviously the most important thing.

“I couldn’t imagine an event like this ever being targeted, but it’s quite reassuring that the measures are in place – even if it does look a bit silly.”

Bedworth Haulage Ltd trucks were used at the parade

Chief Inspector Daffyd Goddard from Warwickshire Police said: “As the public would expect we are working closely with our partners and the event organisers to ensure a safe parade for the many people taking part and attending. “Security for such events is a matter for the organiser, however, we do offer advice regarding appropriate security, this advice considers the number of people attending, an understanding of the national threat level and any other local factors. “Due to incidents in this country and worldwide one suggestion made was to consider putting in place approved vehicle mitigation, it is then a decision for the organisers as to whether they adopt this advice.

“Whilst there is no specific threat to either the event itself or in Warwickshire generally, we continue to advise the public to remain vigilant and report any concerns to police.”

References

  1. ^ Armistice Day (www.mirror.co.uk)
  2. ^ Army, (www.mirror.co.uk)



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