Barnsley Council cancel WW2 event

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A fundraising World War II re-enactment weekend has been scrapped - over fears some participants might wear Nazi uniforms.

Barnsley Council has stepped in to block the 1940s Goodnight Sweetheart event to be held on May 24 and 25 by Elsecar Heritage Railway.

Proceeds were due to be divided between the railway’s restoration programme and the Help For Heroes charity.

But it has been cancelled after council officers said a previous event in 2010 resulted in complaints about enthusiasts wearing Nazi and SS uniforms.

The weekend would have featured mock battlefield skirmishes staged by members of the respected Northern World War II Association.

The railway’s chairman Del Tilling said: “I’m absolutely baffled as to how they can think this is offensive, when the people involved are a responsible group of military re-enactors.”

A spokesman for the Northern World War II Association said none of their members portrayed SS, Gestapo or other extreme Nazi political units.

“People are being deprived of the chance to visit an enjoyable and educational event about the war,” he said.

The council spokeswoman said: “Because of complaints received after the last event about people in Nazi uniform, we needed to be confident the event was appropriately themed, and wouldn’t include such elements,” she said.

“We are completely happy with re-enactments and with German uniforms, but we have to be sensitive to local people who have been affected by the horrific events that took place during the war.

“The organisers were unable to give us assurances that the event would be held safely and appropriately, so we had no choice but to cancel. We are happy to talk to the organisers and look at rearranging it.”