The irony of arms event at Assembly Rooms
Tragically, we are all too aware of the devastating effects of aerial bombardment here in the city of Bath.
As your readers may know, this year is the 70th anniversary of the Bath Blitz. During just two nights of bombing in April 1942, over 400 Bath citizens were killed and countless buildings were destroyed or damaged – including the Assembly Rooms.
Having been gutted by fire caused by incendiaries dropped in the final raid on Bath you would think that the Assembly Rooms would be a wholly unsuitable venue to showcase the latest methods of delivering aerial bombardment by remote control.
But apparently not – a pilotless drones conference is scheduled to be held there in June.
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When former Luftwaffe bomber pilot Willi Schludecker discovered the true extent of the destruction he had helped wreak on our city, he resolved to return to Bath and offer his sincere and heartfelt apology for the part he had played in those devastating raids.
Attending a special service at Shaftesbury Road Memorial Gardens in 2008, he spoke about his ignorance of the pain and damage he had caused at the time of the bombing.
"War is madness," he said.
For his humility and humanity, Willi was embraced by the citizens of Bath.
Having made his peace, he died two years later at the age of 89.
However, following the publication of Diana Francis's open letter to Paul Crossley, Leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council, in last week's edition of the Bath Chronicle, we will no longer be able to claim ignorance as a defence if we fail to join her in calling on him to cancel this appalling drones conference at the Assembly Rooms.
Ultimately, this is a matter of conscience.
As Diana's letter makes clear, Bath and North East Somerset Council, who act on our behalf, have succeeded in making all of us complicit in the arms trade whether we like it or not.
ANDY MCKIM Maple Gardens Bath