Thursday, 10 March 2011

City of Edinburgh War Memorial Vandalised

From today's Scotsman

Outrage as Capital war memorial vandalised

10 March 2011

A MYSTERY vandal attack which damaged the war memorial outside the City Chambers has been condemned.

The Stone of Remembrance on the Royal Mile was daubed with white paint, along with a nearby wall, in the incident. It is thought to have taken place on Tuesday night or in the early hours of Wednesday but the motive is a mystery.

The city council believes specialist paint was used as a team of dedicated cleaners had to be called in to remove it yesterday afternoon after initial attempts failed in the morning.

Lord Provost George Grubb, who said he had no idea who was responsible, branded the vandalism "disgraceful".

He said: "This memorial was created in memory of those who died in war and it's always been regarded as a sacred spot as far as the city is concerned. It should be treated with great respect.

"This was an act of vandalism which is sad because we gather every Remembrance Sunday to lay wreaths, along with the First Minister and the British Legion. Last year we had a great parade. It's very hard to express in words how one feels."

Councillor Grubb added: "When we left the City Chambers on Tuesday night it was all right, so it must have happened during the night."

The paint has now been removed by water jet, with cleaners set to return today to polish the marble.

The spokesman for the Royal British Legion Scotland, Neil Griffiths, described the vandalism as "totally shocking".

"All vandalism makes your blood boil but the desecration of a war memorial is above that," he said.

"This represents the death of many thousands of Scots and it is the focus of national remembrance. Every year the whole nation gathers around the memorial and this year we have got the Armed Forces Day in June, when again it will be a centrepiece.

"It's an important piece of work for not just the ex- service community, but the whole community. It represents the memory of Scots who died all round the world serving the country since World War One."

A council officer spotted the vandalism at around 7am yesterday and reported it to the local authority.

Councillor Robert Aldridge, the city's environment leader, said: "As soon as this was reported to us, we had a team of experts on hand to remove the graffiti.

It is hard to understand how someone can stoop so low and deface a war memorial for those who gave their lives for this country."

No mention made that this very modest memorial took nine years to build after the First World War. But that story is for another day...

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