Thursday, 31 July 2014



A giant employed by Southend Council will ensure that residents of the seaside town will never again forget the horrors of the First World War.

The 60 foot tall giant, who was discovered last September in a cave in Benfleet, will be dressed in period German military uniform and will recite speeches given by the Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II from a site outside Southend Victoria railway station. On weekend evenings black and white newsreel footage from the conflict will be projected onto his bare chest. It is hoped that the giant, who is currently being read war poetry by volunteers from local branch libraries, will eventually give weekly recitals of poems by Siegfried Sassoon.

Councillor Derek Notes said:

“From July 28th, people living in Southend will be reminded of the First World War on a daily basis by the bellowing of a fearsome giant, who will be shackled in cold irons in the barren wilderness that lies beyond the high-street, behind the Odeon multiplex cinema.

“As part of the council's drive towards accessibility I would like to assure those who are hard of hearing that the giant's speeches will be both signed and subtitled on an accompanying video screen.”

In addition to acting as a “Knowledge Point” for information on the First World War, the giant will also take the lead in re-enactments that will introduce the horror of life and death in the trenches to a generation who have never fired a Lee-Enfield rifle in anger.

Events coordinator Sarah Wednesday said:

“In our contemporary society it is difficult imagine a scenario in which 60,000 Englishmen are slaughtered during a single day of fighting. I am therefore pleased to announce that on July 1st 2016 - the centenary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme - the giant will be freed from his bonds, armed with a custom-made machine-gun and several cannisters of mustard gas, and instructed not to return until 60,000 residents of Southend lie dead.”

The plans have drawn criticism from local historian Harold Petley, who is chief lecturer of Giant Studies at Southend University:

“I seriously doubt that a single giant, even one who has been armed with a machine-gun and archaic chemical weaponry will be able to kill the required number of people within the 24 hour time limit,” he said.

Critics have also expressed concerns over the costs of keeping the giant in Southend. Level 15 Rotarian, Magnus Harte, said:

“I question whether this so-called giant, who I am told eats upwards of 30 sheep a day and has already threatened to destroy the Royals Shopping Centre and lay waste to Westcliff-on-Sea, represents good value for the taxpayer.”

Derek Suttling, UKIP MEP for the fictional home counties village of Lower Rosefistings, responded:

“Southenders should be justifiably proud that their town is now home to the third-tallest World War One Remembrance Giant in England.

“Need I remind you that we inhabit a flat earth that is precisely 6000 years old, where the Welsh have a dragon with the voice of Tom Jones, the Japanese have a radioactive moth and various tentacled monsters, and the United States have a 100 foot tall robot battle suit called Patriot One which has been fashioned from the wrecks of planes and ships destroyed in the attack on Pearl Harbour.

“In addition to teaching us about World War One, these giants act as a strong deterrent to anyone who is considering an invasion of mainland England, the French for example.

“I hope that one day these giants will stand at the head of a mighty army who will occupy Europe and give birth to a new age of British imperialism that will last for a thousand years.”

Residents of Southend have so far given mixed reactions to the giant:

14 year old accountant Scott McFarlane said:

“As a seasoned Call of Duty player I mainly concern myself with the actions of rogue states, dissident groups who are aiming to destabilize western governments from within, and the activities of my arch-nemesis on XBOX Live multiplayer - Joel13 - who claims to have to have slept with my mother and has, on numerous occasions, demanded that I perform oral sex upon him.

“However the pained roarings of the giant, which I hear in the morning when I am waiting for the bus, have given me pause to ponder this early 20th century war, in particular how its outcome affected the modern geopolitical situation and perhaps indirectly fuelled the armed conflicts of today.”

120 year old Maurice Simms who fought in the original First World War said:

“I had all but forgotten the terrors of the trenches; the sight of men broken beyond recognition and the terrible booming of the big guns. Coming face to face this salivating giant dressed up like a German officer has brought the horror of it all rushing back. Must I, along with my fellow 120-year-old veterans, fight World War One again so that our nation can be free of these monsters?”


The final of a BBC series in which celebrity chefs compete for the honour of cooking a dish in a 25 course banquet, fit for the nation's World War One Remembrance Giants, will be decided on Friday.

East Anglia finalist Michael Panrucker said:

“Many of my fellow chefs have grown beanstalks which they plan to serve in a variety of imaginative ways. However, I know that what all giants really crave is the grinding of bones and blood of free-range Englishmen dribbling down their chins. 

"If successful I will be making a deconstructed cow tartare, served on a sharing plate made from the roof of The Imperial War Museum. I can think of no better way of honouring these giant men who have taught us so much about the First World War.”


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