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“Shameful” – Vandals take a blade to Polish War Graves display in Perth cemetery

Vandalism to Polish War Graves display
Vandalism to Polish War Graves display

The Commonwealth War Graves Committee has condemned “deliberate and sustained” vandalism at a Perth cemetery site dedicated to fallen Polish servicemen.

A display at the city’s Wellshill Cemetery, which holds the graves of almost 400 members of the Polish Armed Forces, was desecrated in what is believed to have been a targeted attack.

The 2017 commemoration of Polish war dead at Wellshill.

An information board photograph of a World War One funeral procession was scratched out with a knife, or other sharp instrument, cutting through a protective coating.

The vandalism, which was reported by a member of the public in the run-up to Armed Forces Day, has sparked widespread condemnation.

The Polish War Graves site was established in 1940, after Polish authorities in Scotland asked for a dedicated cemetery site for the burial of their soldiers.

Half of all Polish war burials in Scotland are at Wellshill and a ceremony is held each year to mark their sacrifice.

A spokesman for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), which maintains the site, said the panels were installed as a “direct response to the need of our many visitors who have told us that as the two world wars become more distant, they need more help from us to understand who these men and women were and what they did.”

He said: “Each panel has been specifically designed with coating to ensure their longevity to cope with minor acts of vandalism. Therefore, the damage highlighted is obviously a deliberate and sustained act.

“We are deeply disappointed that someone chose to deface a panel designed to engage and inform people of the sacrifices made by those buried at Wellshill. We have reported it to our operational team and will see what can be done to repair the panel.”

Local SNP councillor Sheila McCole described the vandalism as “appalling and shameful.”

She said: “This part of the cemetery honours and remembers those who fought and died for the freedoms we enjoy today, and is a place of solace and peace for relatives, service personnel and others, to visit.

“I have spoken with the CWGC who are making the necessary arrangements to remedy the damage.”

Ms McCole added: “I would hope that this is an isolated incident and would urge all visitors to Wellshill Cemetery to show respect to the graves of all who are laid to rest there.”

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said: “I find this mindless type of vandalism totally pointless and done in very bad taste.

“It is an utter disgrace to vandalise war graves and is very disrespectful.”

It is understood the incident has so far not been reported to police.

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