Please support a British Memorial in the Crimea

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Re: Please support a British Memorial in the Crimea

Postby Swordswoman » 04 Apr 2014 19:35

Another quick update on the ongoing campaign.

We've had a further (anonymous) £1,000 donation plus another £1,000 towards starting a maintenance fund for the future, so things are really starting to look like business.

Meanwhile you all know the changing political situation in Crimea. If things go on as they are, we may have to work through the British Embassy in Moscow rather than the one in Kyiv, which would be tragic after everything Colonel Burnell has done for this campaign. If that's how it has to be, then we'll forge ahead and do it, but I will personally make sure there is something on that memorial to recognize the massive contribution made by Jeremy Burnell of the Royal Marines.

In the current uncertainty we're no longer actively soliciting new contributions, and are saving our campaigning powder for when we can offer a really definite timescale and plan. However, since there is absolutely no risk and we offer a money-back guarantee, we will still be accepting donations in the meanwhile from anyone who really wants to help, and they can (as always) be made at the Appeal site here: http://crimeaappeal.com/

Everything we raise now will make it easier to persuade both Russians and Ukrainians that we mean business, and will mean we can open communications much more quickly when the time comes.

Onwards and upwards, and best to all,

Louise
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Re: Please support a British Memorial in the Crimea

Postby Mark » 04 Apr 2014 19:40

Thanks for the update, Louise! Good to hear you are still able to accept donations.

Mark
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Re: Please support a British Memorial in the Crimea

Postby Swordswoman » 28 Apr 2014 21:13

And the latest update!

Things in Crimea look iffier and iffier, and I feel I need to keep all our donors up to date on the current situation. Our webmaster will be putting an announcement on the Appeal Home Page in the next couple of days, but this forum has shown us more support than any other and deserves advance notice. Here then is the text of the report I submitted to the CWRS for its AGM last weekend:

The Appeal to raise funds for a new British Memorial in Crimea was launched in September 2013 with the full backing and support of the British Embassy, Kyiv.
Defence Attaché Colonel Jeremy Burnell RM had obtained all the necessary planning permissions and already commissioned plans and drawings of the new memorials. These comprise an expansion of the existing memorial site at Dergachi (at an estimated cost of £25,000) and a new Place of Contemplation at Cathcart’s Hill (at a further estimate of £45,000), and the plans are on display at the Appeal website at crimeaappeal.com.
In the short time it has been active, the Appeal has reached out to the public through letters, flyers, a prospectus, guest blogs, online articles, forum appeals, and its own website. It has attracted support from Lord Ashcroft, Lord Boateng, and Prince Michael of Kent, and has enabled questions to be asked at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and in both Houses of Parliament. Our Armed Forces have (predictably) given the greatest support, and from our first batch of letters to Regimental Associations, we have already received donations from the Queen’s Own Highlanders, the Grenadier Guards and the Scots Guards, with further promises from the Coldstream Guards and the association of the old 93rd Sutherland Highlanders. Our pledges now total a definite £8,000, and actual cash in our bank and PayPal accounts show balances of a further £9,425.15. This gives us a total of £17,425.15, and means we are already two thirds of the way towards achieving the new memorial at Dergachi.

Unfortunately, the situation in Ukraine has changed everything.
We do not anticipate any difficulty with the authorities in Sevastopol itself, since many are those who issued our permissions in the first place. We do not anticipate any difficulty with new Russian governmental offices, since these are currently eager for good PR with the West. The difficulties arise entirely from the situation of our own government, and are these:
1) Administration of the project may now have to pass away from Kyiv to the control of the Moscow desk. Even this is currently impossible, since the switch would imply British recognition of Crimea as part of the Russian Federation, which it is not presently minded to give.
2) As of Thursday April 24th, Reuters is reporting that ‘EU leaders have asked the European commission to propose economic, trade and financial restrictions on Crimea for rapid implementation.’ This would prohibit EU members (such as ourselves) from carrying out any financial transactions within Crimea, which would prevent any attempt to further the Appeal.
We all hope that this situation is temporary, but for the time being our priority must be to protect the money given by our donors, some of whom are in this room.
It is for that reason that we suspended active fundraising earlier in the year, including further letters to regimental associations, and have refrained from collecting pledges from those who have already made offers. The money already given remains intact in its fund, and not one penny will be disbursed until we have clear guarantees from all the relevant authorities that the project can be carried to successful completion. In the unlikely event that the situation drags on, and no such guarantees are forthcoming, then we will, with the greatest regret, return the money to our donors.
We don’t think this will happen. This is only a worst-case scenario, but in view of earlier fiascos over such memorials we are determined to err on the side of caution. We will do everything we can to work with all the governments involved to enable this project to go ahead, so that our fallen of the Crimean War may finally be given the proper recognition they have so long been denied.


There is more recent news even than this. The CWRS has now voted to lose its charitable status, which means that in the next few months I must find a new registered charity to host the Appeal. The simplest way seems to be to start a new charity myself for the purpose, and for that reason we will be launching the 'Crimean War Trust' just as soon as I can complete the formalities for proper registration. Several key members of the CWRS (including its new Chairman) have already agreed to join me in this venture, and I will update this forum the moment things change - but for now the CWRS is still a charity and everything remains the same. I only wanted to announce it here, because this forum (and Mark) have been so supportive that I want you to be the first to know anything that may affect us in the future.

Meanwhile we go on. I will be going back out to Crimea as soon as I can get the now-required visa, and will report back on whatever I find.

And thank you to everyone here for all you have done. We've waited nearly 160 years for this, and I'm not going to let something as trivial as a civil war stop me now!!

Louise
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Re: Please support a British Memorial in the Crimea

Postby SWB » 28 Apr 2014 23:52

Hello Louise

Thanks for the update, a sad situation indeed not least for those that have to live in the Crimea irrespective of where their sympathies may lie.

It is wise not to attempt any financial transactions in that part of the world - you don't want the US government knocking on your door.

As to the charity issue - would you consider approaching The Victorian Military Society- a registered charity, to host the fund?

All the best
Meurig
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Re: Please support a British Memorial in the Crimea

Postby Swordswoman » 29 Apr 2014 00:47

Hello, Meurig,

Yes, you're absolutely right about the tragedy of all this. I have both Russian and Ukrainian friends there, and feel for the ordinary people most of all.

That's a very interesting idea about the VMS. I admit I hadn't considered it, because I know the CWRS found it a burden having to open an additional bank account, and am reluctant to foist the problem onto somebody else.
Also - shamefully - I'm not actually a member! I've been thinking about joining, because I love both the SOTQ and the Diehards, but thought it mightn't really cover the Crimean War since the CWRS split from it. If it does, then I must sign up at once!

Thank you for the suggestion anyway. If you think there's a possibility of their being interested then I must certainly consider it.

All the best,

Louise
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Re: Please support a British Memorial in the Crimea

Postby Mark » 29 Apr 2014 13:50

Thank you for the update, Louise! The current issue in Ukraine and Crimea is certainly a mess but, as with all things of this nature, they eventually calm down. The only question is how long this might take but I am confident that this project, either in its current form or an amended one, will still become a reality. Until then the VWF continues to fully support the memorial in whatever way we can.

Mark
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Re: Please support a British Memorial in the Crimea

Postby Josh&Historyland » 29 Apr 2014 14:30

Louise.

Thanks for the update, as usual, Historyland and whatever reach it has at your service no matter what changed the appeal goes through.

Josh.
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Re: Please support a British Memorial in the Crimea

Postby Swordswoman » 29 Apr 2014 22:08

Thank you so much, Mark - and thank you too, Josh. Your support is very much appreciated.

Now we wait :( . But like you, I'm sure it won't be for long...

All best,

Louise
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Re: Please support a British Memorial in the Crimea

Postby timothylrose » 30 Apr 2014 07:31

Louise - as you know you have our full support on this one - am still going ahead with the presentation cheque idea in June. However the fall out from the current situation in the region has had an effect on the 160th anniversary plans which seem to have folded at the minute. You can count on my chaps standing next to yourselves in kit as and when the memorial is dedicated there - as 57th it would be churlish not to be there.

Shame that the CWRS don't want to manage the appeal any more - but at least that kind of explains why their treasurer hasn't replied to my e mails about our donation and it hasn't appeared on any lists etc to date. Weird what some people see as a burden - managing one extra bank account! Not sure that the VMS would see it much differently given their state of play but worth asking the question - if not then it's a question of registering for charitable status as a stand alone.

Like you my thoughts are with my muckers out there and it is tragic to see the splits within what were a lovely bunch of people to be with - but I am sure that from the appeals point of view all things are possible - keep the faith - atb Tim
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Re: Please support a British Memorial in the Crimea

Postby Swordswoman » 01 Feb 2016 12:20

Well, I'm back - but I’m afraid this isn’t the update I’d hoped I’d be returning to give. We’ve clung on for two years now, hoping for a political solution that would once again open Sevastopol for our Memorial, but it’s February 2016, the situation is as toxic as ever, and my colleagues and I at the Crimean War Trust have decided with great regret that it’s time to fold.

You'll all know how I feel about this. Indeed, I begin to think the people here are the only ones who really understand. I'd fight if it could be fought, but the truth is that the situation is not only 'not getting better', it's actually getting worse. I don't want to get into politics, but my contacts in the FCO are looking at both the Middle East and Eastern Europe and making the kind of noises historians would recognize. It's going to get very grim, and our little memorial is suddenly the tiniest thing at stake in what might turn out to be a global conflagration. We have no choice but to withdraw.

So we're doing it, and from today we’re starting the long and depressing process of refunding our donors their money. If you contributed by PayPal you’ll be refunded the same way, but since our new bank account doesn’t have PayPal the payment will come from me personally with ‘Crimea Memorial Appeal’ as the reference. I think I have complete records, but if you’ve changed your email address since donating, then please send me a private message here to let me know. Otherwise everyone should have their money back by the end of the month.

Those who paid by cheque will naturally be refunded by cheque, but if you’d prefer PayPal or direct transfer, then please just message me with the details. Cheques will take a little longer, as I need to send everything off to be countersigned first, but again everyone should be paid by the end of the month.

As far as I can see, there are only two people out of all our donors for whom we have neither postal nor email addresses, and I’m doing all I can to track them down. I won’t give their full names publicly, as one at least requested ‘no publicity’, but if anyone here is the Mrs DMH or the (Mr?) ANL who donated back in 2013 then please do make yourselves known to me via private message so I can give you back your money!

I promise this isn’t the end of the dream. One day the world will return to sanity, and when it does we'll be ready. Both plan and appeal can be revived at a moment’s notice, and we’re only closing now because none of us feel happy sitting on other people’s money when it may not be used for many years.

Meanwhile I just want to take the opportunity to thank you all again here. Please remember that we didn’t fail. The project didn’t founder for lack of generosity, but through forces well beyond any of our control, and we should be very proud we came as close as we did. We may not have our new physical memorial to our troops in Crimea, but all of you helped build another kind in proving how much we still care. Thank you again to each and every one of you, and especially to Mark for letting us use the site in this way – but I warn you that if and when the Appeal is ever revived, I’ll know exactly where to come!

You're all stars. Mark, Tim, Josh, Meurig, Martin, SheffSteve - all of you. I'm snivelling a bit as I write this because I feel I let you all down, but one day, ONE DAY, we'll be back to put it right.

Louise
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Re: Please support a British Memorial in the Crimea

Postby SWB » 01 Feb 2016 13:47

Hello Louise

Not an easy message to get across, thank you for the fulsome explanation. I quite understand and agree that the whole region is going backwards.

One day.

Best wishes
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Re: Please support a British Memorial in the Crimea

Postby Josh&Historyland » 01 Feb 2016 14:22

The Duke of Wellington was once asked, what was the greatest test of a great general, the Duke answered "To know when to retreat, and to dare to do it". Wellington retreated many times during the war in Spain and Portugal, though he never failed on the battlefield, even the day before Waterloo he was retreating after pushing back Ney at Quatre Bras. Retreats nevertheless lead to victories.

I feel that the Appeal has not failed, but has been merley forced to retreat for the moment. Therefore I repeat the sentiments I wrote before. Historyland and whatever it's reach and effect will remain at your service for whenever you need it in the future.

I therefore take off my hat to you, Louise and all your colleagues, for your efforts so far, and for daring to retreat on a road that will hopefully lead to a victory.

Josh.
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Re: Please support a British Memorial in the Crimea

Postby crimea1854 » 01 Feb 2016 14:48

Louise

A truly sad state of affairs, but if it's not too complicated I would ask that my refund be directed to 'Help for Heroes'. If I can't honour fallen servicemen from the Crimea this would certainly be the best use for my money.

Martin
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Re: Please support a British Memorial in the Crimea

Postby timothylrose » 01 Feb 2016 15:04

Louise - as you know we were behind you and the project - like you the situation in the area has been devastating for friends we have in the region and for the future of British involvement in reenactment there - our own 57th Foot unit based in the Crimea has been torn apart with the separation and we don't see us Brits getting out there again for the foreseeable future - once the refund hits us we will be looking to donate to one of our charities in the UK - best wishes - Tim
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Re: Please support a British Memorial in the Crimea

Postby Swordswoman » 01 Feb 2016 20:30

Huge thanks to you all for such kind responses.

Meurig - Thank you for being so understanding, and for all your help and encouragement from the beginning. Mind you, I'm hoping you didn't really mean 'fulsome'...!

Josh - Thank you for such a beautifully written reply, and that very apposite quotation from the Duke of Wellington. I feel as if mine has been less of a retreat than a rout, but you're right in that we certainly haven't given up. One day.

Martin - Thank you very much - but since there are two Martins who donated at about the same time, can I just double-check that you're the very generous Martin 'B'? It would be too awful if I sent someone else's money to the wrong place!
Yes, I can easily pass the money to 'Help for Heroes' and ask for the donation to be in your name, but if you'd still like to give to a cause of this kind, would you prefer to wait for one related to the Crimean War? The only one I know of that's presently active is the appeal to restore the damaged grave of Light Brigade charger Anthony Wilder (11th Hussars, buried at Arnos Vale, Bristol) but there's also talk of another starting to include a memorial to our Crimean Fallen at the National Memorial Arboretum - http://www.thenma.org.uk/. If either of those interest you I'd be happy to hold your money until we learn more at the AGM of the CWRS in April - but if not, then of course I'll pass it straight to Help for Heroes as you suggest.

Tim - Yes indeed, you've been a rock from the first. I'm so sorry (but not surprised) that this has hit the reenactment community so hard, and admit I'm guilty of deeply torn loyalties myself. Personally I'm an almost embarrassingly patriotic Brit, but when you know people out there, when you've seen things through their eyes, and experienced first hand some of the horrors being inflicted by Ukrainian nationalists, then it becomes harder and harder to stick to the official anti-Russian line. I try just to stay out of all the political side, but that's obviously impossible for those actually living in Crimea. I guess we can only hope and pray for a political solution that will heal some of the rifts between us, and restore relations to what is now beginning to look like the 'golden age' we had between 1991 and 2013. We're now further away from Crimea than we were at the height of the Cold War. :(

(On a practical note, Tim - yours was a (very generous) cheque donation, but since the CWRS treasurer left us with less than adequate records, I'm afraid I don't know who your refund cheque should be made payable to, or indeed to what address it should be sent. I'm so sorry to trouble you with this, but do you think you could PM or email me to let me know? Very many thanks.)

And once again, thank you all. I wish I'd had better news to give you, but no-one could have been kinder in their response.

Louise
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