SAFETY measures have now been put in place to prevent Common-wealth War Graves signs being damaged at Radnor Street Cemetery.
Twice in the two months since the signs were erected to commemorate the soldiers interred in the cemetery, they have been found destroyed.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has now been forced to reinforce the signs and lift them out of reach to vandals climbing over the gates.
Residents told skill maintenance craftsman Tony Murray that the damage had been caused by people using the signs as a leg-up to enter the cemetery after hours. The Commission is relieved to hear the damage was not deliberate as first feared.
“We had a resident come out while we aware installing the new signs who told us people have been using the signs as a facility to climb into the cemetery when it is locked,” said Tony.
“One gentleman saw people clambering over the gate but did not want to challenge them because he didn’t want any come back from them, which is fair enough.
“It is something we do see, especially when headstones are kicked over, sometimes it is just pure stupidity. It would appear that this has been nothing vicious, just people trying to climb into the cemetery itself.”
All four of the cemetery signs have now been replaced out of reach of trespassers.
“What we have done now is taken them right as high as they can go and put extra brackets on the signs,” said Tony. “What we are hoping is that this will draw a line under the whole thing.
“In the past they have been lower down when people have stood on them, because they are quite flexible they have been bent over to the point where two have snapped and the other two have been bent.
“We have now eliminated any facility to step on the bracket because they are now as high up as they can go.
“We did have our concerns when we found out that all four were damaged because we thought we were being singled out for some reason. It is very pleasing to hear there was nothing malicious in it.”
Tony is in charge for the West region while a colleague is off work and had to travel from Leamington Spa to replace the Swindon signs.
“This has probably cost us £200 altogether when you factor in our time and the new signs, considering this is the second time we have had to come out here.
“It would be nice if this was the end of it and they stay in their rightful places from now on.
“Hopefully with the new brackets they should stay in one piece.”