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Britain First leader Paul Golding lays wreath at Dartford's war memorial after a service attended by hundreds of veterans

By Lynn Cox

The leader of a far-right political group Britain First laid a wreath at a war memorial after veterans had left a ceremony marking the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Paul Golding laid the wreath at the memorial in Dartford Central Park after dignitaries and others had attended a service there yesterday morning.

Mr Golding was filmed placing the poppy wreath bearing the Britain First logo next to dozens of other wreaths which had been laid by veterans, youth organisation and dignitaries.

Britain First leader Paul Golding lays a wreath at the Dartford memorial

Hundreds of people had attended the service, which began at 10.40am and included a march by veterans, uniformed and youth organisations from the High Street and along Market Street past the memorial.

It comes as the world marked 100 years since the Armistice which ended the First World War.

It is understood far-right leader, Mr Golding laid the wreath sometime after a parade came to an end at about noon.

Britain First leader Paul Golding laying a wreath at the Dartford war memorial
Britain First leader Paul Golding laying a wreath at the Dartford war memorial

Dartford Borough Council's leader, Cllr Jeremy Kite thinks the video is 'undignified and disrespectful'.

He said: "The service at Dartford war memorial was one of the best attended for many years and it seemed to me that every single person present was there to honour the fallen with quiet dignity and respect.

"The old, the young, whole families, veterans and serving members of our armed forces gathered in one place and at one time to unite in Remembrance.

"It was one of many services and dedications across Dartford and each seemed to have attracted large attendances.

"I think there’s something undignified and disrespectful about turning commemoration into a political propaganda video and I am not sure how it could sit with any decent person’s conscience.

"What I will say is that all the genuinely brave and decent people - those who actually put their lives on the line and hundreds of others who respect the fallen - showed up at eleven o’clock and felt no need to wait until everyone had gone."

"I think there’s something undignified and disrespectful about turning commemoration into a political propaganda video and I am not sure how it could sit with any decent person’s conscience..." - Cllr Jeremy Kite, Dartford Borough Council

During the video, Mr Golding is heard speaking while Edward Elgar's Nimrod plays in the background. Later, black and white images of veterans in the trenches appear.

Mr Golding says: "Britain First exists for one reason preserve and fight for the country handed down to us by forebears.

"The millions of men and women who died in numeral wars to make sure this country remains free sovereigned, independent and above all British.

"Britain First is a deceleration of war against all of politicians traitors who are destroying and betraying our inheritance handed down to us by the brave soldiers, men and women, civilians who have died, sailors on the high seas, fighting on continents of the world to make sure there is a future worth living for our children and grandchildren."

The wreath laying sparked anger from some quarters.

Colin Botterman, a KentOnline reader, said: "Britain First have desecrated Dartford's war memorial.

Britain First leader Paul Golding laying a wreath at the Dartford war memorial
Britain First leader Paul Golding laying a wreath at the Dartford war memorial

"Paul Golding sneaked a wreath onto the memorial after the ceremony and filmed it for their own agenda."

Royal British Legion spokesman Natasha Glenville said: "Remembrance ceremonies and services on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day honour the memory of Servicemen and women, past and present and mark the cost of conflict.

"Many political, religious and cultural groups choose to distinguish or personalise their wreaths when placing them at war memorials to identify their act of Remembrance.

"Wreaths are available through the Legion’s website for anyone wishing to take part in an act of commemoration for the sacrifices of our Armed Forces past and present.”

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