Location: Downing Street, SW1.
On Friday 10 July 2015, three members of Veterans For Peace met in Trafalgar Square, London and walked down Whitehall towards the residence of the Prime Minister. Once at Downing Street the veterans lined up, faced the police barricades and made the following statements.
“We are members of Veterans For Peace UK, an ex-services organisation of men and women who have served this country in every conflict since the second world war. We exist in the hope of convincing you that war is not the solution to the problems of the 21st century. We have come here today to hand back things, given to us as soldiers, that we no longer require or want.” Said Ben Griffin.
“This is my Oath of Allegiance, it is something I had to recite in order to get the job as a soldier. At 15 years old I had little understanding of its true meaning. Now I fully understand the words, they have no meaning at all.” Said John Boulton who then discarded his Oath of Allegiance.
“This is my Oath of Allegiance, this was a contract between the Monarchy, the British Government and a fifteen year old child. I am no longer loyal to the Government or the Monarchy.” Said Kieran Devlin who then discarded his Oath of Allegiance.
“This is my Oath of Allegiance, I made this oath when I was 19 years old. It required me to obey orders without question. I am no longer bound by this contract.” Said Ben Griffin who then discarded his Oath of Allegiance.IMG_7913
“This is my Army hat, it defined me as a soldier and a cog in the military machine. I reject militarism” Said John Boulton who then discarded his beret.
“This is my Army hat, this was given to me as a sixteen year old boy. I reject militarism, I reject war. And it means nothing to me.” Said Kieran Devlin who then discarded his beret.
“I used to wear this hat as a soldier, it used to have great significance to me. I no longer want to keep hold of this symbol of militarism”. Said Ben Griffin who then discarded his beret.
“These are the medals given to me for the sick dichotomy of keeping the peace and waging war. They are trinkets, pseudo payments. But really all they represent is the self interest of those in there, who hold power.” Said John Boulton who then discarded his medals.
“These are my medals, these were given to me were given to me as a reward for invading other peoples countries and murdering their civilians. I’m now handing them back” Said Kieran Devlin who then discarded his medals.
“I was given these medals for service on operations with the British Army. This particular medal here, was given to me for my part in the occupation of Iraq. Whilst I was over there, I attacked civilians in their homes and took away their men, off to be tortured in prison. I no longer want these despicable things.” Said Ben Griffin who then discarded his medals.
The three veterans then walked away from Downing Street leaving the oaths, berets and medals lying scattered on the floor.
John Boulton served in the Armoured Corps. He deployed on operations to Cyprus and Afghanistan. He is now a member of Veterans For Peace UK.
Kieran Devlin served in the Royal Engineers. He deployed on operations to the Gulf War and N Ireland. He is now a member of Veterans For Peace UK.
Ben Griffin served in the Parachute Regiment and the SAS. He deployed on operations to N Ireland, Macedonia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He is now a member of Veterans For Peace UK.