RSA condemns vandals’ attack on Anzac graves in London

November 24, 2015 3:00 am

 

The graffiti on Anzac soldiers’ headstones at a churchyard in moved a councillor to tears when she discovered it.

The RSA has condemned the desecration of Anzac war graves in London as a “wanton act of vandalism”.
“Such
an act is appalling and can never be justified in any way,” said New
Zealand Returned and Services Association chief David Moger.
“It is completely disrespectful to all those who gave their lives in service.”
It
emerged yesterday that the graves, dedicated to New Zealand soldiers
who died in World War I, had been defaced with spray paint.
The vandalism was discovered at Harefield churchyard in Hillingdon, west London.
“Those
whose gravestones they defaced demonstrated the Anzac spirit, values of
courage, commitment, comradeship and compassion,” Mr Moger said. “We
can only hope that those who committed this crime find the courage to
step forward, accept responsibility for their actions and make
reparations.”

He said the RSA had not had any contact from family members
associated with the graves, but it understood the Commonwealth War
Graves Commission was working on repairing the damage.
London
councillor Jane Palmer was moved to tears when she discovered the
vandalism yesterday. She took photos of the graffiti attack and reported
it to police.
There are 120 World War I graves at Harefield Park
(St Mary) Churchyard for Kiwi and mainly Australian troops who died at
the nearby No 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital.
Each grave is marked by scroll-shaped headstones, chosen by the staff and patients at the hospital.
“In tears this morning at this desecration,” Ms Palmer wrote as she posted photographs on social media yesterday.
The Met Police have asked for witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.
It
is the second such incident this year. A memorial in the cemetery was
sprayed with paint and the Australian flagpole cut into on the eve of
the Gallipoli centenary, the Mirror reported.
Ms Palmer said she
had had offers to help clean the headstones, and though she had been
“touched by your kindness” the Commonwealth War Graves Commission was
taking up the task.

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