Silent Soldier First World War tribute stolen from Yapton Co-Op

One of the Silent Soldier silhouettes to commemorate the centenary of Armistice Day SUS-180409-091204001
One of the Silent Soldier silhouettes to commemorate the centenary of Armistice Day SUS-180409-091204001

A tribute to the soldiers who died in the First World War is feared stolen from outside a village supermarket last week.

The Silent Soldier silhouette, outside the Co-operative in Main Road, Yapton, was one of three aluminium figures displayed thanks to donations to the Royal British Legion.

The five feet high monuments were placed in Maypole Lane, Barnham Road and outside the Co-op store, which sponsored two of the tributes.

The acquisition of the silhouettes was organised by Jim Payne, a self-confessed Great War obsessive and member of the Yapton and Ford History Group.

“It’s so sad,” he said. “These figures represent the 33 guys from Yapton who lost their lives in the Great War.

“I can’t understand why anyone would take them – there’s no monetary value in them, they’re just thin pieces of aluminium.”

Thirteen of the 33 Yapton residents who were killed were members of the Royal Sussex Regiment.

Mr Payne said the figures were put up about six weeks ago in the build up to a commemoration service on the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day on November 11.

They were securely fastened in place and cable-tied to railings, he said, so would have taken significant time and effort to remove.

Mr Payne plans to begin fundraising for a replacement if they are unable to locate the missing figure.

A police spokesman confirmed it is investigating after a black silhouette of a First World War soldier was ‘taken’ from outside the Co-Op in Main Road ‘sometime overnight on Wednesday, August 29’.

The spokesman described it as being of ‘great sentimental value’ and appealed for anyone with information to get in touch.

Information can be reported online or by calling 101 with serial number 78 of 03/09, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.