Guest column: We need a specific memorial for British soldiers killed in Northern Ireland

John Mann MP
John Mann MP
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I recently wrote in the Worksop Guardian about my campaign in support of a local couple whose son was shot by the IRA when he was serving in the British Army in Belfast.

They have called for a national memorial for those who fought for the British Army in Northern Ireland.

I wrote to the Prime Minister, calling on her to make the necessary arrangements for the memorial.

I have received a response from the Ministry of Defence which points to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire and the Palace Barracks Memorial Garden in Northern Ireland.

This is a disappointing response from the Government as it misses the point.

There are memorials for specific campaigns and the loved ones of those who died in Northern Ireland deserve the same respect.

I will challenge the Government on this.

Adverts have been taken out in national papers offering pensions compensation to former miners.

My advice is to be very careful of people offering something for nothing.

No-one should get involved without taking advice and I am happy to offer guidance if you think this may affect you.

Please call me on 01909 506200 or email mannj@parliament.uk

This Sunday marks St George’s Day.

For many centuries this was a national feast day and holiday and for years in Parliament I have been calling for a return to the traditional holiday, whenever it falls on a week day.

Part of my idea for a national holiday is to reclaim our heritage and be as proud about it as we are when we come together to support our national football, rugby or cricket teams.

My proposal of a national holiday would be different from Bank Holidays.

It would be a community-organised day of sports matches, including school finals.

Nationally we could hold the London Marathon on that day and have other major charity events – perhaps with a focus on fundraising for local community projects.

In Bassetlaw for example we could fundraise for projects to commemorate our history of the Mayflower Pilgrims.

The usual suspects would if course have their complaints and ask what about the rest of the United Kingdom?

No problem – the Irish, Scots and Welsh can go to work and have a separate national holiday for their patron saint if that is what they decide.

St Patrick’s Day is already a public holiday and I know many people from England who enjoy joining in and the same would be true for St George’s Day.

I will continue to put forward my proposal as well as other work on our national heritage and identity.

If we do not define what it is to be English, others will do that for us.