Royal Marines Commando Paul Woodland of Penarth and the Special Boat Squadron badge which his father Melwyn wears every day inscribed with the motto "Not by strength - by guile"

Royal Marines Commando Paul Woodland of Penarth and the Special Boat Squadron badge which his father Melwyn wears every day –  inscribed with the motto “Not by strength – by guile”

The Vale of Glamorgan Council –  which had rejected a request that the memory of Penarth Royal Marine Commando Paul Woodland should be officially honoured on the town’s war memorial – has finally compromised after years of pressure from his former fiancee, his  family and from senior political figures.

Penarth Commando Paul Woodland

Penarth Commando Paul Woodland

Paul Woodland (32) of Penarth – drowned in October 2012 during a Special Forces “surf skills” exercise off Saunton Sands, North Devon  when a large wave swamped and capsized the rigid inflatable boat (RIB) he and his fellow soldiers were in. Pte Woodland was trapped underneath the upturned boat by the engines and was drowned.

His fiancee Sian, who adopted his surname after his death, launched a campaign for Paul to be recognised on Penarth’s official war memorial –  but this was rejected by the Vale Council .

In 2014 Vale Council Leader Cllr Neil Moore (Labour Cadoc Ward Barry) called for the campaign to be halted, refused to consider placing Pte Woodland’s name on Penarth’s main War Memorial and  refused to meet with Woodland family. The decision revolved around the circumstances of Pte Woodward’s death  – which was not brought-about by enemy action and did not take place  in a theatre of war,

Cllr Moore said  “ My decision is based on protecting the memories of the vast majority of personnel named on the cenotaph who did die in active military service both at this time and years to come.”

Penarth’s Conservative AM, Andrew R T Davies, personally intervened and said the council “should give Paul Woodland the recognition his service warrants”.

Mr Melwyn Woodland father of Paul Woodland

Mr Melwyn Woodland father of Paul Woodland

Paul’s father Melwyn Woodland says the council has now agreed that a memorial can be installed in Penarth’s Garden of Remembrance –  provided that the bulk of the funding required is raised by the family and the charity founded in his name.

The new memorial will comprise a big globe mounted on a pedestal in the Garden of Remembrance adjacent to the entrance to Alexandra Park .

Paul Woodland’s name is to be the only one inscribed upon the memorial, although it’s understood the monument will also honour others who have died in the service of their country  .

As fund-raising still has some way to go, it is unlikely that the new memorial can be installed in the Garden of Remembrance in time for this year’s Remembrance Sunday commemorations .

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  1. angela says:

    This is disgusting the vale are a complete joke and are only concerned about themselves, this man still served something needs to be done

  2. Mike baker says:

    It seems to me that a serving member of our armed forces, who is killed during service is as deserving of our respect and admiration as those other brave souls who are killed in a war zone, this gentleman was killed whilst training for the SBS in tragic circumstances. He was a soldier for the UK, he should be honoured. I am pleased some form of memorial will be erected and I would like to contribute to the fund-raising, if anyone can let me have contact details please do so at ‘’

  3. Huw Williams says:

    It is good to read that the Vale of Glamorgan Council has reconsidered. However I would prefer a memorail that names aĺl those member’s of the armed forces linked to Penarth who have died on duty since 1945 and comemorates their loss equally. This is the criterion for inclusion on the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum and names can be added in future if, sadly, it becomes necesary, while equal treatment is an essential characteristic of the British way of remembrance. I would be happy to donate to a memorial on this basis.

  4. johnm says:

    it would be good if the garden of remembrance could be restored as a garden, ie with plants, in memory of the fallen, and not kept as a lawn of rememberance as it is now.
    why does the vale council insist on taking out budget cuts on penarth’s plants and trees?
    if they won’t look after them properly, hand them ober to the voluntary sector.

    also, long overdue is penarth looking at entering britain in bloom, surely?

    sorry to go off topic, of course this young man’a service should be remembered somewhere, along with any others (police, firemen etc) from the town. a aeparate memorial in the garden of rememberance is one option, a littlr section of the cenotaph would have been another.

  5. Janet says:

    Thank you for your service Pte. Woodland. I echo Angela’s comments!

Comments are closed.