Vandals attack signs marking war graves

Andy Knowlson, Regional Supervisor West Region for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, pictured after replacing a vandalised sign at Radnor Street Cemetery

Andy Knowlson, Regional Supervisor West Region for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, pictured after replacing a vandalised sign at Radnor Street Cemetery

First published in News by

SIGNS honouring the fallen from Swindon in the world wars have had to be removed from Radnor Street Cemetery after repeated vandalism.

Destruction of the Common-wealth War Graves signs now appears to be a targeted attack after all were found broken yesterday morning.

Members of the Common-wealth War Graves Commission visited the site to replace one of the signs, found snapped in half last Wednesday, to discover that all of the four memorials have now been destroyed.

The team have decided to remove all of the signs until replacements can be installed.

The signs were erected in April to commemorate the 104 soldiers interred at the cemetery. They have been vandalised on several occasions.

Tony Murray, of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, said he now believes people are deliberately targeting the signs after a similar incident occurred in May of this year.

“We have now removed all the signs from the cemetery,” he said.

“We arrived in the morning but we only expected for there to be one of the signs damaged so we only brought one replacement with us.

“Unfortunately all four have been damaged.

“They have all been wrecked in pretty much the same way, and we will now have to return early next week to replace all of them.

“The first one we came across had been bent and snapped in half, with the bottom half left on the floor. Two more have been bent completely out of shape but are still intact.

“It is my belief that all of these have been done deliberately, and it looks very much like targeted vandalism for whatever reason. It is very disappointing.

“The strange thing is that there are signs all around here and ours are the only ones which have been targeted.

“This is not the first time this has happened and it does leave a sour taste.”

Alan Baker, chairman of the Swindon Royal British Legion, said the vandalism was disrepectful, coming at it does at the centenary of the First World War.

“It is absolutely despicable,” he said.

“As a branch we feel awful about this as those people buried there gave a great sacrifice in the name of freedom and all they get in return is vandalism.

“This could not have come at a worse time when we are respectfully commemorating the centenary of the First World War.”

A spokesman for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission said: “The signage programme is part of the Commonwealth War Grave Commission’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, however, 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.”

The Commission team hopes to return to the cemetery on Monday morning to replace all of the damaged signs.

Comments (15)

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6:45am Wed 13 Aug 14

villageoldman says...

Put the signs back up and a covert CCTV camera. Then name and shame the individuals , no matter what age. Why do we always roll over and give up .
Put the signs back up and a covert CCTV camera. Then name and shame the individuals , no matter what age. Why do we always roll over and give up . villageoldman
  • Score: 16

7:00am Wed 13 Aug 14

house on the hill says...

villageoldman wrote:
Put the signs back up and a covert CCTV camera. Then name and shame the individuals , no matter what age. Why do we always roll over and give up .
Because it is the cheaper and easier option of dealing with anti social behaviour rather that dealing with it properly. I don't think naming and shaming would work the same way that ASBO's never worked. Only 2 things work, taking away their money or their liberty everything else is just seen as a joke by the the morons.
[quote][p][bold]villageoldman[/bold] wrote: Put the signs back up and a covert CCTV camera. Then name and shame the individuals , no matter what age. Why do we always roll over and give up .[/p][/quote]Because it is the cheaper and easier option of dealing with anti social behaviour rather that dealing with it properly. I don't think naming and shaming would work the same way that ASBO's never worked. Only 2 things work, taking away their money or their liberty everything else is just seen as a joke by the the morons. house on the hill
  • Score: 10

8:15am Wed 13 Aug 14

semitonic says...

This is the fourth time this 'story' has been recycled on this site.

These signs are unfortunately placed in a position that makes them a convenient foot-hold for anyone trying to get in or out of the cemetery once the gates are locked. You can tell that by the picture, the top is damaged.

The sort of idiots that loiter in the cemetery smoking weed probably have no intention of deliberately damaging the signs, they probably can't even read them.

The signs need to be placed in a lower or much higher position.

It's not rocket science.
This is the fourth time this 'story' has been recycled on this site. These signs are unfortunately placed in a position that makes them a convenient foot-hold for anyone trying to get in or out of the cemetery once the gates are locked. You can tell that by the picture, the top is damaged. The sort of idiots that loiter in the cemetery smoking weed probably have no intention of deliberately damaging the signs, they probably can't even read them. The signs need to be placed in a lower or much higher position. It's not rocket science. semitonic
  • Score: 9

8:38am Wed 13 Aug 14

Isthisthebestswindon cando says...

house on the hill wrote:
villageoldman wrote:
Put the signs back up and a covert CCTV camera. Then name and shame the individuals , no matter what age. Why do we always roll over and give up .
Because it is the cheaper and easier option of dealing with anti social behaviour rather that dealing with it properly. I don't think naming and shaming would work the same way that ASBO's never worked. Only 2 things work, taking away their money or their liberty everything else is just seen as a joke by the the morons.
I agree, this requires a robust response.

A couple of bobbies waiting quietly inside the cemetery gats should be all it requires to collar these ingrates. Then parade the offenders publicly through the justice system and give them a stiff penalty to show that these offences do matter and that the general public is fed up with them.
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]villageoldman[/bold] wrote: Put the signs back up and a covert CCTV camera. Then name and shame the individuals , no matter what age. Why do we always roll over and give up .[/p][/quote]Because it is the cheaper and easier option of dealing with anti social behaviour rather that dealing with it properly. I don't think naming and shaming would work the same way that ASBO's never worked. Only 2 things work, taking away their money or their liberty everything else is just seen as a joke by the the morons.[/p][/quote]I agree, this requires a robust response. A couple of bobbies waiting quietly inside the cemetery gats should be all it requires to collar these ingrates. Then parade the offenders publicly through the justice system and give them a stiff penalty to show that these offences do matter and that the general public is fed up with them. Isthisthebestswindon cando
  • Score: 14

10:39am Wed 13 Aug 14

umpcah says...

Isthisthebestswindon cando wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
villageoldman wrote:
Put the signs back up and a covert CCTV camera. Then name and shame the individuals , no matter what age. Why do we always roll over and give up .
Because it is the cheaper and easier option of dealing with anti social behaviour rather that dealing with it properly. I don't think naming and shaming would work the same way that ASBO's never worked. Only 2 things work, taking away their money or their liberty everything else is just seen as a joke by the the morons.
I agree, this requires a robust response.

A couple of bobbies waiting quietly inside the cemetery gats should be all it requires to collar these ingrates. Then parade the offenders publicly through the justice system and give them a stiff penalty to show that these offences do matter and that the general public is fed up with them.
Assuming that these morons are not in the cemetery every night, it`s unreasonable to expect the understaffed Wiltshire Constabulary to have a couple of bobbies waiting quietly inside the cemetery gates as you suggest. Solution ? I`m not sure but CCTV could be helpful.
[quote][p][bold]Isthisthebestswindon cando[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]villageoldman[/bold] wrote: Put the signs back up and a covert CCTV camera. Then name and shame the individuals , no matter what age. Why do we always roll over and give up .[/p][/quote]Because it is the cheaper and easier option of dealing with anti social behaviour rather that dealing with it properly. I don't think naming and shaming would work the same way that ASBO's never worked. Only 2 things work, taking away their money or their liberty everything else is just seen as a joke by the the morons.[/p][/quote]I agree, this requires a robust response. A couple of bobbies waiting quietly inside the cemetery gats should be all it requires to collar these ingrates. Then parade the offenders publicly through the justice system and give them a stiff penalty to show that these offences do matter and that the general public is fed up with them.[/p][/quote]Assuming that these morons are not in the cemetery every night, it`s unreasonable to expect the understaffed Wiltshire Constabulary to have a couple of bobbies waiting quietly inside the cemetery gates as you suggest. Solution ? I`m not sure but CCTV could be helpful. umpcah
  • Score: 3

12:20pm Wed 13 Aug 14

PJC says...

I didn't think it was legal to put up 'covert' CCTV cameras, that's why there are always warning signs up, and it would probably be inadmissible as evidence if they did. Admittedly it's more expensive, but use metal signs. Wonder if the reporting of this has made some idiots do more damage than would have happened?....
I didn't think it was legal to put up 'covert' CCTV cameras, that's why there are always warning signs up, and it would probably be inadmissible as evidence if they did. Admittedly it's more expensive, but use metal signs. Wonder if the reporting of this has made some idiots do more damage than would have happened?.... PJC
  • Score: -4

12:38pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Alan Bast*rd says...

Maybe leave the gates open to stop people breaking the signs climbing over?
They going to go in there regardless so might as well limit the damage.
Maybe leave the gates open to stop people breaking the signs climbing over? They going to go in there regardless so might as well limit the damage. Alan Bast*rd
  • Score: 0

12:39pm Wed 13 Aug 14

umpcah says...

PJC wrote:
I didn't think it was legal to put up 'covert' CCTV cameras, that's why there are always warning signs up, and it would probably be inadmissible as evidence if they did. Admittedly it's more expensive, but use metal signs. Wonder if the reporting of this has made some idiots do more damage than would have happened?....
" Wonder if the reporting of this has made some idiots do more damage than would have happened?" I think the initial damage by morons was probably " accidental /unintentional " and then morons , perhaps the same ones , on hearing about the ensuing uproar thought to have a good laugh by doing a proper job on the signs.
[quote][p][bold]PJC[/bold] wrote: I didn't think it was legal to put up 'covert' CCTV cameras, that's why there are always warning signs up, and it would probably be inadmissible as evidence if they did. Admittedly it's more expensive, but use metal signs. Wonder if the reporting of this has made some idiots do more damage than would have happened?....[/p][/quote]" Wonder if the reporting of this has made some idiots do more damage than would have happened?" I think the initial damage by morons was probably " accidental /unintentional " and then morons , perhaps the same ones , on hearing about the ensuing uproar thought to have a good laugh by doing a proper job on the signs. umpcah
  • Score: 0

1:30pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Isthisthebestswindon cando says...

umpcah wrote:
Isthisthebestswindon cando wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
villageoldman wrote:
Put the signs back up and a covert CCTV camera. Then name and shame the individuals , no matter what age. Why do we always roll over and give up .
Because it is the cheaper and easier option of dealing with anti social behaviour rather that dealing with it properly. I don't think naming and shaming would work the same way that ASBO's never worked. Only 2 things work, taking away their money or their liberty everything else is just seen as a joke by the the morons.
I agree, this requires a robust response.

A couple of bobbies waiting quietly inside the cemetery gats should be all it requires to collar these ingrates. Then parade the offenders publicly through the justice system and give them a stiff penalty to show that these offences do matter and that the general public is fed up with them.
Assuming that these morons are not in the cemetery every night, it`s unreasonable to expect the understaffed Wiltshire Constabulary to have a couple of bobbies waiting quietly inside the cemetery gates as you suggest. Solution ? I`m not sure but CCTV could be helpful.
I take your point, but if societally we start to become selective about what is policed due to budget cuts, then we welcome a situation where the law would no prevail.
[quote][p][bold]umpcah[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Isthisthebestswindon cando[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]villageoldman[/bold] wrote: Put the signs back up and a covert CCTV camera. Then name and shame the individuals , no matter what age. Why do we always roll over and give up .[/p][/quote]Because it is the cheaper and easier option of dealing with anti social behaviour rather that dealing with it properly. I don't think naming and shaming would work the same way that ASBO's never worked. Only 2 things work, taking away their money or their liberty everything else is just seen as a joke by the the morons.[/p][/quote]I agree, this requires a robust response. A couple of bobbies waiting quietly inside the cemetery gats should be all it requires to collar these ingrates. Then parade the offenders publicly through the justice system and give them a stiff penalty to show that these offences do matter and that the general public is fed up with them.[/p][/quote]Assuming that these morons are not in the cemetery every night, it`s unreasonable to expect the understaffed Wiltshire Constabulary to have a couple of bobbies waiting quietly inside the cemetery gates as you suggest. Solution ? I`m not sure but CCTV could be helpful.[/p][/quote]I take your point, but if societally we start to become selective about what is policed due to budget cuts, then we welcome a situation where the law would no prevail. Isthisthebestswindon cando
  • Score: 2

1:35pm Wed 13 Aug 14

house on the hill says...

Alan Bast*rd wrote:
Maybe leave the gates open to stop people breaking the signs climbing over?
They going to go in there regardless so might as well limit the damage.
So as the first poster said we just roll over and give up then? So the solution to anti social behaviour is to say its going to happen anyway so just let them get on with it. Would you leave your front door open? Sorry but that sends completely the wrong message.
[quote][p][bold]Alan Bast*rd[/bold] wrote: Maybe leave the gates open to stop people breaking the signs climbing over? They going to go in there regardless so might as well limit the damage.[/p][/quote]So as the first poster said we just roll over and give up then? So the solution to anti social behaviour is to say its going to happen anyway so just let them get on with it. Would you leave your front door open? Sorry but that sends completely the wrong message. house on the hill
  • Score: 2

1:51pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Alan Bast*rd says...

house on the hill wrote:
Alan Bast*rd wrote:
Maybe leave the gates open to stop people breaking the signs climbing over?
They going to go in there regardless so might as well limit the damage.
So as the first poster said we just roll over and give up then? So the solution to anti social behaviour is to say its going to happen anyway so just let them get on with it. Would you leave your front door open? Sorry but that sends completely the wrong message.
It could be completely innocent and accidental damage. Maybe they just cut through the cemetery as a short cut?
It looks like they've broken it by putting their foot there to climb over. No biggy is it?
Is there any other damage apart from to the signs? Personally think this has been blown out of proportion. Place the signs better then this wouldn't even be an issue at all.
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Alan Bast*rd[/bold] wrote: Maybe leave the gates open to stop people breaking the signs climbing over? They going to go in there regardless so might as well limit the damage.[/p][/quote]So as the first poster said we just roll over and give up then? So the solution to anti social behaviour is to say its going to happen anyway so just let them get on with it. Would you leave your front door open? Sorry but that sends completely the wrong message.[/p][/quote]It could be completely innocent and accidental damage. Maybe they just cut through the cemetery as a short cut? It looks like they've broken it by putting their foot there to climb over. No biggy is it? Is there any other damage apart from to the signs? Personally think this has been blown out of proportion. Place the signs better then this wouldn't even be an issue at all. Alan Bast*rd
  • Score: -1

2:11pm Wed 13 Aug 14

Moth says...

PJC wrote:
I didn't think it was legal to put up 'covert' CCTV cameras, that's why there are always warning signs up, and it would probably be inadmissible as evidence if they did. Admittedly it's more expensive, but use metal signs. Wonder if the reporting of this has made some idiots do more damage than would have happened?....
Putting up "covert" CCTV is not illegal. CCTV evidence is widely used in prosecution cases provided the footage is date stamped and timed which most modern CCTV cameras do - even those you can get to protect your home.

Sorry, but these things do need to be reported - if anything, the general public can keep a look out for the vandals now that they know what's going on. The majority of decent people are sick of these nasty little morons that make life miserable for people and show no respect for other people and their property.

It's also high time there were stiffer punishments for these anti-social pests. Might make them and their pals think twice.
[quote][p][bold]PJC[/bold] wrote: I didn't think it was legal to put up 'covert' CCTV cameras, that's why there are always warning signs up, and it would probably be inadmissible as evidence if they did. Admittedly it's more expensive, but use metal signs. Wonder if the reporting of this has made some idiots do more damage than would have happened?....[/p][/quote]Putting up "covert" CCTV is not illegal. CCTV evidence is widely used in prosecution cases provided the footage is date stamped and timed which most modern CCTV cameras do - even those you can get to protect your home. Sorry, but these things do need to be reported - if anything, the general public can keep a look out for the vandals now that they know what's going on. The majority of decent people are sick of these nasty little morons that make life miserable for people and show no respect for other people and their property. It's also high time there were stiffer punishments for these anti-social pests. Might make them and their pals think twice. Moth
  • Score: 3

4:09pm Wed 13 Aug 14

PJC says...

PJC wrote:
I didn't think it was legal to put up 'covert' CCTV cameras, that's why there are always warning signs up, and it would probably be inadmissible as evidence if they did. Admittedly it's more expensive, but use metal signs. Wonder if the reporting of this has made some idiots do more damage than would have happened?....
Why was that thumbed down? It is just a statement of fact. I'd rather it didn't happen too, but who is going to pay for dedicated surveillance. Maybe you'd all like to volunteer to patrol in the evening?
[quote][p][bold]PJC[/bold] wrote: I didn't think it was legal to put up 'covert' CCTV cameras, that's why there are always warning signs up, and it would probably be inadmissible as evidence if they did. Admittedly it's more expensive, but use metal signs. Wonder if the reporting of this has made some idiots do more damage than would have happened?....[/p][/quote]Why was that thumbed down? It is just a statement of fact. I'd rather it didn't happen too, but who is going to pay for dedicated surveillance. Maybe you'd all like to volunteer to patrol in the evening? PJC
  • Score: 2

5:47pm Wed 13 Aug 14

New Balance says...

Most likely kids on school holiday. Shame nothing will be done about it.
Most likely kids on school holiday. Shame nothing will be done about it. New Balance
  • Score: 1

9:02am Thu 14 Aug 14

Isthisthebestswindon cando says...

house on the hill wrote:
Alan Bast*rd wrote:
Maybe leave the gates open to stop people breaking the signs climbing over?
They going to go in there regardless so might as well limit the damage.
So as the first poster said we just roll over and give up then? So the solution to anti social behaviour is to say its going to happen anyway so just let them get on with it. Would you leave your front door open? Sorry but that sends completely the wrong message.
I agree - the gates are locked for a reason, after the hours of dark it ceases to have access. The issue is about general respect, whether the signs could be better positioned (I suspect they probably could) is not really the issue.

Effectively this is a trespass related offence, and I was under the impression that smoking weed (as has been suggested) is also an offence. By that rationale it needs to be dealt with, even if the signs are being accidentally damaged during the other offences.
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Alan Bast*rd[/bold] wrote: Maybe leave the gates open to stop people breaking the signs climbing over? They going to go in there regardless so might as well limit the damage.[/p][/quote]So as the first poster said we just roll over and give up then? So the solution to anti social behaviour is to say its going to happen anyway so just let them get on with it. Would you leave your front door open? Sorry but that sends completely the wrong message.[/p][/quote]I agree - the gates are locked for a reason, after the hours of dark it ceases to have access. The issue is about general respect, whether the signs could be better positioned (I suspect they probably could) is not really the issue. Effectively this is a trespass related offence, and I was under the impression that smoking weed (as has been suggested) is also an offence. By that rationale it needs to be dealt with, even if the signs are being accidentally damaged during the other offences. Isthisthebestswindon cando
  • Score: 1

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