What was meant to be a somber day of reflection and remembrance in Cheshire, England, was shattered — literally — when a couple British veterans and a handbrake spawned a meadow’s worth of oopsie daisies.
Two former soldiers were at the center of the Nov. 11 gaffe after forgetting to deploy the brakes of a Scimitar armored reconnaissance vehicle during the village’s moment of silence in observance of Remembrance Day.
Onlookers quickly transitioned from a state of surprise to shock as the vehicle careened out of control and crashed into the village’s memorial gate and garden.
“Residents had been told there was a surprise and we had been guessing all week what it would be,” one villager remarked to the Manchester Evening News. “You couldn’t have written it — it was like something out of Dad’s Army.”
The former soldiers, Bollington councillor Mark Fearn and former mayor Andy Langdon, splashed out £950 (around $1,280) to rent the armored vehicle for the day. The two could be seen laughing and waving as they drove through the village toward the memorial gardens.
The pair — Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne, if you will — sought to surprise the village of Bollington with the 7.8-tonne armored vehicle as part of the festivities. Instead, they drew the ire, and perhaps a chuckle or two, from the local villagers and the Royal British Legion.
Fearn later confessed in the community Facebook group that it was he, not Langdon, who caused the kerfuffle.
“Oops,” Fearn wrote. “A bit embarrassed to say the least… I will be making a personal donation to RBL.”
The RBL was not amused, however, and a spokesperson told CheshireLive, “We are aware of an incident in Bollington on Armistice Day and our membership team are currently investigating. We were not aware beforehand that this vehicle would be used on Thursday, and it is entirely inappropriate.”
Keep that in your back pocket. For roughly £1k, you too can ruin a day of remembrance.
Claire Barrett is a digital media editor at HistoryNet and a World War II researcher with an unparalleled affinity for Sir Winston Churchill and Michigan football.