Plans to build a £250,000 replica tank in Trowbridge Park were rejected by the town council last night.
A committee from Trowbridge’s annual Armed Forces Day hoped to get backing for the decorative Mark IV Female 222 project but councillors knocked back the proposals during their meeting at the Civic Centre.
The group believed the replica would make a fitting tribute as part of the town's First World War centenary commemorations as an original Mark IV Female was previously in the park.
It was put there in 1919 to acknowledge Trowbridge residents raising £1m towards the war effort and removed later during the national scrap metal drive for the Second World War.
Town councillor Andrew Bryant said: “It is impossible to know how the dead would wish to be remembered.
"My assumption is they would wish for us to be able to enjoy the freedom of open spaces and would not seek remembrance via the erection of an object symbolic of terror and destruction.”
Cllr Bryant put forward a motion to reject the project which would have sought financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
A recorded vote saw 12 councillors back Cllr Bryant’s rejection of the scheme, with four against it and one abstention.
Sylvia Wardle, who presented plans for the replica tank, said: “It would make a very fitting tribute to those who served and is not a trophy of war - it is a tribute.”
Campaigners hoped to have the tank in place by 2016 and Mrs Wardle said the group wanted to work with the region’s schools and colleges on the project.
Before the town council debated the plans the public had an opportunity to air their views.
Major Jon Wort, of 43 (Wessex) Brigade, said: “I think the project is a really good opportunity for the military and civilians to work together as a community.”
Brian Mitchell, Trowbridge Royal British Legion's parade marshal, said: “As a man of 40 years military experience I see this as a sign of aggression and not of peace.
“If the council wants to do something positive I would ask that they enhance the footpath area around our current war memorial in the park so that veterans could stand their with dry feet on Remembrance Sunday.”