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White poppy wreath removed in Bath - for the fourth year running

White poppy wreath among the red poppy wreaths in Bath on Sunday

White poppy wreath removed in Bath - for the fourth year running

A wreath of white poppies placed by Quakers in Bath at the city's Remembrance Sunday ceremony has been stolen. This is the fourth year in which this has happened. 

It is fairly common for white poppy wreaths around Britain to be removed or vandalised by militarists who object to the message of white poppies and the presence of white poppy wreaths.

In contrast, many red poppy wearers make clear that they are happy for white poppies to be included in Remembrance events. In Bath, the people laying the white poppy wreath had secured the agreement of the local branch of the British Legion beforehand. 

Despite this, the white poppy wreath appears to have been removed within less than half an hour of being placed. (The memorial in Bath is pictured above, shortly before the white wreath was removed).

The Peace Pledge Union, which supplies white poppies, said they were disgusted but not surprised by the removal of the wreath. They added that they usually hear several reports in the days following Remembrance Sunday of white poppy wreaths being stolen or vandalised. 

The PPU urged anyone whose white poppy wreath is stolen or vandalised to contact them at or on 020 7424 9444. 

White poppies represent remembrance for all victims of war of all nationalities, a commitment to peace and a rejection of militarism. More white poppies have been sold in 2018 than in any year since they were introduced, in 1933. 

PPU Co-ordinator Symon Hill will be speaking in Bath at 7.00pm on Thursday (15 November) about remembrance and the centenary of the Armistice. 

In 2016, white poppy wearers in the Forest of Dean were prevented at the last minute from laying a white poppy wreath after the authorities were threatened with "trouble" if white poppies appeared on a war memorial. 

In Lewes, also in 2016, the removal of a white poppy wreath was defended by the chair of the local branch of the British Legion, who described white poppies as "disrespectful and totally inappropriate". This contradicts the British Legion's policy at national level, which is to respect people's right to choose to wear a poppy of any colour, or no poppy at all.

The attitudes of British Legion branches towards white poppies vary widely from one place to another. In Aberystwyth, the British Legion works with local white poppy wearers in a joint ceremony in which red and white wreaths are both laid on the local war memorial. This has happened for four years following careful and painstaking negotation between the parties involved. 

The PPU insisted that it is not people who wear white poppies, but people who remove wreaths from memorials, who are disrespecting people killed in war.