A WAR memorial has been put back in place less than 48 hours after its ‘silent soldier’ silhouette centrepiece was decapitated by vandals – thanks to a talented Army veteran.

Chainsaw artist Ian Murray stepped in to make a bigger and sturdier replacement for the memorial at the Beachside Cafe on Rhyl promenade.

Mr Murray, who served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Northern Ireland, said: “It made my blood boil seeing what these kids have done to the silent solider, so I had to step in.

“As a veteran myself, it’s like a stab in the heart of everyone who has served and their families – not just in World War One, but all conflicts.

“There’s a connection with Rhyl to the military that I don’t think enough people appreciate.

“Now there’s a ‘Tommy’ that won’t be as easy to break in place.

“Rather than the minority of kids thinking ‘this is something we can break’, they might stop and think about why the monument is there.”

Mr Murray collected the damaged ‘Tommy’ silhouette on Saturday morning and returned with a replacement later that evening.

No stranger to a tight deadline, the Journal reported in December 2016 on how Mr Murray carved a seven-foot Darth Vader statue in just four days for Star Wars actor Spencer Wilding in time for the Rhyl premiere of the Rogue One film.

His silhouette, which replaces the original compound plastic monument,is made of two-inch thick cedar and is part of an outpouring of support that has seen four others volunteer replacement ‘silent soldiers’ for Beachside Cafe owner David Carlisle.

Mr Carlisle responded: “Initially, I was very angry but it has turned into something positive.

“One of great things to come out of this is, all being well we could now have five different soldiers, all with the same outline but very different characters on the prom.”

Mr Carlisle highlighted the incident with Denbighshire County Council leader Hugh Evans and new Rhyl police inspector Arwyn Jones at a Rhyl Business Group meeting on Friday.

Insp Jones tweeted: “Was disgusted to see first hand, however, the result of mindless damage on Rhyl front.”

“If you have any information with regards to who is responsible, please contact us.”

The silhouette, one of just 1,000 ‘silent soldier’ figures in the UK, was the second in Rhyl to be erected just last month near the events arena as part of nationwide Royal British Legion project.

The ‘silent soldiers’ project was introduced to the town in March by Rhyl Poppy Appeal organiser Richard Kendrick and community fundraiser for North Wales Andrew Green, with the first soldier being installed at the Cob & Pen, and has since expanded into Rhuddlan, Bodelwyddan and Llandudno.

Mr Kendrick responded: “I’m was very angry to see this. How can anyone be so disrespectful?

“These are made to pay honour to the men and women who gave their lives for us.

“But this has given me even more conviction on why we should do this in Rhyl.

"I believe these people don’t understand what the silent soldiers mean.”

“But there are lots of positives: more soldiers will stand out more and hopefully people will ask why they are there.

“We will remember this Tommy with a whole regiment of Tommys.”

Anyone with information relating to the incident is asked to call police with reference number 183000515 either on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111or using the web live chat at http://www.north-wales.police.uk/contact/chat-support.aspx.