A POWYS action group has condemned vandals after wreaths containing white poppies were stolen from a cenotaph.

The white wreaths – two of which were also interspersed with red poppies – were removed from the war memorial in Knighton after being placed there along with red wreaths for the Remembrance Day service last Sunday, November 8.

The four white wreaths were laid by four separate groups – Knighton Action for Peace and Justice, Knighton and District Refugee Support Group, Knighton Branch of Amnesty International and Radnor Palestine Links – to highlight the number of civilians killed in all wars and to remember all victims of wars, as well as World War I and World War II.

Angie Zelter, of Knighton Action for Peace and Justice, reported the damage on Wednesday morning after receiving a call from a group member.

“Knighton Action for Peace and Justice are in shock that such disrespect should be shown to all the victims of war in such a manner,” she said.

“A gathering at the Knighton War Memorial had just finished and we were told the white poppies had been removed, the wire strapping them down had been cut and the wreaths had gone and some white poppies were scattered on the ground.

“All the red poppy wreaths and their wires were intact. There is a need for public dialogue rather than cutting out differences of opinion. Two of the groups wreaths also contained red poppies and the significance was to show the number of civilian and other victims of wars past and present.”

County Times:

A few white poppies are left scattered about the cenotaph.

Knighton Museum tweeted their disgust, saying via their social media account: “We’re appalled to hear that the four white poppy wreaths placed at Knighton War Memorial on Sunday have been vandalised.

“Also, one has been stolen from Church Stretton. White poppies date back to the early 1930s and featured in our 2018 window.”

Ms Zelter said the white wreaths are laid to remember and mourn victims of the many wars that are still raging around the world today. She added: “Remembrance is not just for wars fought over 75 years ago but for the wars of today. In a world facing existential threats (such as nuclear weapons and climate change) we need to put our efforts into peaceful conflict resolution rather than endless wars.”

White poppies have been in wide circulation since first being sold by the Co-operative Women's Guild in 1933. The idea of introducing them had been broached in 1926 – a few years after the introduction of the red poppy in the UK – but the idea was not pursued.

Opponents of the white poppy argue that the traditional red one already encompasses the sentiments claimed for the white poppy, such as remembering all victims of war, and believe it undermines the message of remembrance.

In November 2014, white poppy wreaths on the Aberystwyth War Memorial had to be replaced after they were removed and thrown in a bin, while in 2018 there were widespread reports of white poppy wreaths being removed from war memorials.