Guest column: We must never forget the sacrifices of our war heroes

John Mann MP
John Mann MP

One hundred years ago this week the third battle of Ypres, more commonly known as Passchendaele, began.

This battle during World War One resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties and, along with the Somme, symbolises the sacrifice and horror of that war.

Both locally and in Europe that sacrifice of so many is being honoured this week and in the coming months.

I am sure we will all especially want to heed those famous words this week – ‘at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them’.

Another hugely important episode in British and world history has been brought back into the public consciousness by the recent release of the film Dunkirk.

The bravery of those who helped evacuate the soldiers, with the iconic images of the ‘little ships’ bringing around 340,000 British and French soldiers to our shores, turned a huge defeat and catastrophe into an evacuation which would save the army to fight another day.

They far exceeded Winston Churchill’s hopes, who expected only around 30,000 to be saved.

Bassetlaw has many heroes from that time and I recently found details of one addition to their number.

The former MP for Bassetlaw, Captain Bellenger, spent two days on the beach at Dunkirk.

He got off the beach on a tug boat which was bombed, but did manage to make it out on a destroyer.

Once back in Blighty he headed to the House of Commons to resume his 
duties.

I have been contacted about some unusual equipment that has been installed on land close to Kilton Forest Golf Club.

I believe this is being used for seismic testing.

The Government has granted licences across the country in order to find suitable sites for fracking.

INEOS has the licence for the Bassetlaw area and I understand that it is doing seismic testing on privately-owned land in the area.

Clumber Park has refused to allow it on its land and the National Trust is currently in dispute with INEOS.

Bassetlaw Council has also refused to allow it on its 
land.

This week I have also invited INEOS to leave Bassetlaw after it put out the news that it has obtained a court injunction following claims of ‘intimidation and dangerous direct action’.

I personally consider this to be a slur on local people.

Another firm looking to frack locally, IGas, has also put forward unpopular proposals, but has taken the approach of understanding and respecting the rights of the local community to have a democratic say.

INEOS, on the other hand, is, in my opinion, acting with contempt for local people.

The best solution would be for the company to hand over its licence to a company with which we can openly debate and decide fracking applications.