VANDALS decapitated a village’s tribute to a First World War Tommy in an “abhorrent act” last week.

The silhouette, which stood in Christchurch Road in West Parley, was badly damaged sometime between Tuesday, April 23 and the following day.

Parish clerk Linda Leeding said councillors were given the “shocking news” on Wednesday morning.

A statement released this week on behalf of all parish councillors in West Parley reads: “This is a despicable act of vandalism and shows complete disregard for the memories of the fallen, who fought to give the subsequent generations the freedom they enjoy today.”

The parish council bought four ‘silent soldiers’ from the Royal British Legion to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

Each was installed on one of the four main roads in the village.

When the silhouettes were installed, council officials worked on a series of educational quizzes with children from Parley First School before the youngsters created a poppy dedication to those who served from the village.

The dedications were placed at the foot of each silent soldier.

Every pupil was then given a packet of poppy seeds by the council.

“Careful consideration was given and a different silhouette was chosen appropriate to its location,” Ms Leeding said.

“Another silhouette remains outside Parley First School as a reminder to the children.

“This criminal damage has upset numerous residents who are connected to the armed forces and the silhouette was removed as soon as the council became aware of this abhorrent act.”

Two soldiers in neighbouring Ferndown were also damaged last year.

Grant Parrott, chairman of Ferndown Royal British Legion, said: “Throughout the towns and villages of Dorset, the silent soldier figures stand as a statement of our remembrance of the sacrifice of the First World War and our resolve to never let it happen again in this day and age.

“They have had a tremendous impact across all age groups, including young people and children who, we hope, will carry that resolve into the future throughout their own lives and pass it on to their own children.

“Those simple silhouette figures are an important reminder to us all, so our message is: don’t vandalise them – rather think of the message they carry and the future generations they will help to protect.”

Anyone with information on the criminal damage is asked to contact Dorset Police via or by calling 101, quoting incident number 55190061522.