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Poppy wreath stolen from Cambridge cemetery

A poppy wreath was stolen today from a Cambridge cemetery - just 15 minutes after it was laid today, (Wednesday, November 11).

Rev'd Margaret Widdess placed the wreath on a war grave in Mill Road Cemetery during the 11am Act of Remembrance.

But after a short walk around the cemetery with her husband she returned to discover it had disappeared.

The poppy wreath was laid in memory of the war dead at Mill Road Cemetery. (43095433)
The poppy wreath was laid in memory of the war dead at Mill Road Cemetery. (43095433)

Rev'd Margaret said: “We are sorry for the person whose strong feelings led them to remove the wreath for reasons unknown to us. Their action does nothing to diminish the impact of the wars and their dead, or the work of the Friends of Mill Road Cemetery History Group in researching and drawing attention to those commemorated in the cemetery."

She added: “We had decided on a very low key event this year due to the regulations. Sometimes we have had a short service and people reading out names but we couldn't arrange to have anything like that this year. So in the end we just laid the wreath and we left a card on it saying it was laid by the Friends of Mill Road Cemetery and the parishes committee.

"After we laid the wreath my husband and I went to walk around the cemetery. Within 15 minutes we were walking back down past it and the wreath had gone. We asked one or two people whether they had seen anything. We looked at graves nearby, looked in bins, but couldn’t find it.

"For many years now we have laid a wreath it has never disappeared before and when people leave floral tributes in graves or under trees they never disappear. This photo is the only record we have of it now.

The wreath was given by the Friends of Mill Road cemetery. (43095435)
The wreath was given by the Friends of Mill Road cemetery. (43095435)

"It is most unusual but it is disappointing in this centenary year. It is shocking . We do have upsetting things happen in the cemetery. We have had vandalism in 2019. There was quite a sustained bout of damage to the headstones but I always say to people that death and this time compounded with war arouse very strong emotions in people that it is very difficult to fathom. One has to assume that there is something in their lives that has disturbed them greatly or makes them very angry and that the cemetery is somewhere they feel they can take it out on really. Which does not make it any less upsetting but we try to be less judgemental. We can be disappointed that it happened but some of our distress should be for people who feel sodisturbed that they do a thing like that.”

The wreath was laid on the grave of Captain Arthur Reginald Chapman who died aged 53 on September 16, 1940.

He was Captain 101508 of the 118 Lt A.A. Battery, Royal Artillery. Arthur was the son of Arthur and Susan Chapman of Cambridge and the husband of Blanche Isabel of Torquay.

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