A NEW sign commemorating the Commonwealth War Graves at Radnor Street Cemetery will be put up today after an existing one was vandalised over the weekend.
The broken sign at the Deacon Street entrance was one of three erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), last month, to acknowledge 3,000 sites across the country which have graves of those who died in military conflict.
The cemetery, in Kingshill, has 104 Commonwealth War Graves and the commission felt that putting up the signs was a fitting way to mark the First World War centenary, which falls later this year.
Peter Francis, CWGC’s media and marketing manager, said: “The signage programme is part of the CWGC’s efforts to raise awareness of the war graves we maintain in the UK and it is therefore upsetting to see these efforts treated in this manner.
“We will not allow such acts to distract from our work to honour those who died in the two world wars and will restore the signage as soon as we can.”
Alan Baker, Swindon Royal British Legion chairman, described the vandalism as disgusting and disrespectful but was pleased at how swiftly the issue is being dealt with.
He said: “I and every member of the Royal British Legion are hugely grateful that a new sign will be going up soon.
“It is nice to see that there are still good people looking to do good by putting these signs up and it takes the attention away from those bad people out there who have caused this trouble.”
Graham Carter, editor of Swindon Heritage magazine, said that he was shocked someone would tarnish the servicemens’ memory by committing the vandalism.
He said: “The initial feeling when you see something like this is one of anger and then you do wonder whether the person responsible could be familiar with the sacrifices the 104 servicemen in that cemetery gave. Even if the person responsible doesn’t agree with war they should respect those 104 people.
“I’m amazed that if anyone has heard the stories of the First and Second World War that they would do something like this.
“I think there may have been a failure in education here. They need to be sat down in the classroom and taught how wrong this vandalism is.”