The trouble with lockdown is that those of us whose roles do not require us to travel in to the centre of Chelmsford are missing a most amazing sight.
On the roundabout by the multi-storey car park by Parkway a unique celebration of VE Day 75 is emerging. Chelmsford City Council appear to have challenged their parks department to come up with an innovative way to mark the VE Day 75 celebrations and, just as they did with the WW1 Tommy by the Essex Regiment Anglo-Boer War Memorial in Bell Meadow Park, they have come up with a striking display on the roundabout.
Over the last 2 days Deb Hart of Hart Willow, an Essex based willow artist has been erecting life-sized willow replicas of two tanks from World War 2. One is a Sherman Tank which was used extensively by the Allies and the other looks like a Tiger Tank. We think that they have probably been inspired by the 2014 film "Fury" starring Brad Pitt but whose tanks were the real stars. The Tiger Tank in the film came from the Tank Museum at Bovington, Dorset and is the only operating Tiger Mk1 Tank in the world.
Victory in Europe Day, generally known as VE Day is a day celebrating the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces on Tuesday, 8 May 1945 and this year is the 75th anniversary. Before Covid-19 there were plans to have a weekend of celebrations throughout the UK. The government moved the Bank Holiday to coincide with the date. We can see that the wicker tanks were part of the City of Chelmsford's VE Day 75 celebrations and we hope that they will remain in situ for months to come so that everyone can get to see them.
Before the cancellation of the live VE Day 75 events, it was planned that a number of military charities would be involved in the Chelmsford events one of which was SSAFA, who are the UK's oldest national tri-service military charity. SSAFA exists to relieve need, suffering and distress amongst the Armed Forces, veterans and their families in order to support their independence and dignity. Gepp Solicitors started to raise money for SSAFA last year as part of its celebrations of Armed Forces Day (which this year will be on Saturday 27th June).
Gepp Solicitors signed the Armed Forces Covenant last year and because of their support for veterans and members of the Armed Forces community and their families, were awarded the Ministry of Defence's Employers' Silver Award.
The firm's Senior Partner, Roger Brice is passionate about defending the rights of those who defended us, not only serving Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen, but also those who served us in the past. Roger has built up an extensive professional practise in Military law and not only defends current Service personnel but also veterans, some of whom continue to be prosecuted under what is called "The Legacy Inquiry" and can involve possible prosecutions for the most serious offences of persons of mature years who were very young at the time.
Roger is a past Chairman of the United Kingdom Forces Law Network and a Member of the Institute of Military Court Advocates.