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Vandals slammed after damaging Cross of Sacrifice monument at King’s Lynn cemetery





A pair of vandals have been slammed after their “despicable” actions resulted in damage to a war memorial during last week’s D-Day commemorations.

On Thursday, while Lynn residents paid their respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Second World War, two perpetrators vandalised the Cross of Sacrifice at the Hardwick Road Cemetery.

They burned the wreathes which had been placed on the monument, causing damage to the structure itself.

The Cross of Sacrifice at the Hardwick Road Cemetery was damaged when the wreathes were burnt. Picture: Malcolm Bailey
The Cross of Sacrifice at the Hardwick Road Cemetery was damaged when the wreathes were burnt. Picture: Malcolm Bailey

Next to the cremated remains, the initials ‘ADR’ and ‘RYL’ were inscribed in black - apparent signatures from the offenders.

The graveyard is maintained by West Norfolk Council and is one of the earliest British parochial cemeteries.

Chris Black, the borough council’s crematorium and cemetery manager, said: “What a despicable thing to do, denigrating a memorial to those who gave their lives to defend the freedom of people in this country, while elsewhere in town others commemorated their actions.

The vandalism was signed by 'ADR' and 'RYL'. Picture: Malcolm Bailey
The vandalism was signed by 'ADR' and 'RYL'. Picture: Malcolm Bailey

“We will be investigating this matter urgently and take the appropriate action to remove the graffiti and repair any damage.

“If we find any evidence that might identify the perpetrators, it will be handed straight to the police.”

The Cross of Sacrifice is widely considered to be the archetypal British war memorial, and is imitated around the world.

Dr Julian Litten, the chairman of the Friends of Hardwick Road Cemetery group, said: “Whilst the more worthy citizens of Lynn were commemorating D-Day in King's Staithe Square, ‘ADR’ and ‘RYL’ took it upon themselves to burn the wreaths on the Cross of Sacrifice at Hardwick Road Cemetery and to leave their signature at the scene of the crime.

The Cross of Sacrifice at the Hardwick Road Cemetery was damaged when the wreathes were burnt. Picture: Malcolm Bailey
The Cross of Sacrifice at the Hardwick Road Cemetery was damaged when the wreathes were burnt. Picture: Malcolm Bailey

“The damaged caused to the stonework will be expensive to make good, but I have no doubt that it will soon be restored to its former glory.”

Dr Litten has suggested that the perpetrators be made to stand for two minutes of silence in front of the Cross as “a means of saying sorry to those who sacrificed their lives so that they might live in a free democracy”.

Meanwhile, Robbie Hipkin, the chairman of the Royal British Legion’s Lynn and District Branch, has also slammed the vandalism.

The Cross of Sacrifice at the Hardwick Road Cemetery was damaged when the wreathes were burnt. Picture: Malcolm Bailey
The Cross of Sacrifice at the Hardwick Road Cemetery was damaged when the wreathes were burnt. Picture: Malcolm Bailey

“How low can people go?” he asked.

“They ought to be ashamed of themselves. Those who made the ultimate sacrifice - it was for them.

“That is just degrading. Something needs done.

The Cross of Sacrifice at the Hardwick Road Cemetery was damaged when the wreathes were burnt. Picture: Malcolm Bailey
The Cross of Sacrifice at the Hardwick Road Cemetery was damaged when the wreathes were burnt. Picture: Malcolm Bailey

“They have got to be made to clean it up. That is just really despicable.”



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