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Remembered Today:

Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery - vandalised


Derek Robertson
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ARSONISTS have torched the cemetery register and visitors' book at a Harrogate war graves site twice in 24 hours.

The vandals – believed to be aged just seven – ripped out pages of the book at Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery, which records personal messages from visiting family and friends of war victims.

Then they burned them, also causing fire damage to the cemetery shelter.

Peter Francis, of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, said: "The Commission is deeply shocked by this incident and extremely angry that persons as yet unknown have attempted to disrespect the memory of our nation's war dead."

The first incident took place at the cemetery, on Forest Lane, between 4.30pm on Monday and 8am on Tuesday. The second occurred around 2.10pm on Tuesday.

PC Chris Spackman, of Harrogate Police, said: "A witness saw two young looking males making off up Forest Lane towards the Dalby estate after the incident. We believe they are possibly aged seven and from the local area.

"I think they have a lack of understanding of what the war memorial stands for and what people feel towards a place of rest and a place where people can pay condolences.

"One man wrote a poem in the book and that has now been destroyed.

"You can't put a cost on that and I don't think who ever has done the damage has even read it. They just ripped it out and used it as lighting material."

Mr Francis said: "We are working with the local authorities to see what can be done to raise awareness of the sacrifices that these men and women made for us, which will hopefully prevent any repetition of these incidents in the future.

"We would also like to reassure Harrogate Advertiser readers that we will do everything we can to restore the war memorial as soon as we can."

PC Spackman is appealing for anyone with information to come forward and for parents to be aware of what their children are doing this summer holiday.

He said: "They could have matches or lighters on them. Bearing their safety in mind, we don't want them getting burnt or injuring themselves or other people."

If you have an information, please contact Harrogate Police on 0845 60 60 247.

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This makes me very sad, as I attended a family funeral at Stonefall only a few weeks ago and took great comfort from visiting the beautifully-kept war graves plot before the service. If the culprits are indeed young children, my anger is reserved for those who have failed to teach them respect. As the burials in the military plot at Stonefall are of WW2 aircrew, the image of flames licking the interior of the cemetery pavilion is particularly distressing.

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The quote that got me was:

"They could have matches or lighters on them. Bearing their safety in mind, we don't want them getting burnt or injuring themselves or other people."

:o So it's ok to vandalise a cemetery as long as you don't hurt yourself in the process? Sometimes this country makes me so angry.

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The quote that got me was:

"They could have matches or lighters on them. Bearing their safety in mind, we don't want them getting burnt or injuring themselves or other people."

:o So it's ok to vandalise a cemetery as long as you don't hurt yourself in the process? Sometimes this country makes me so angry.

The authorities go straight to the safety aspect don't they............

If this country had to start again (yes I know an impossibility) it would not even be a third world country but a fourth world country

with the namby pandy left wing attitude that is here now !

Rant over.....or is it?

Bob Grundy

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Funnily enough I noted that line, too.

My reaction was along the lines of...we wouldn't want them to hurt other people, certainly.....

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The authorities go straight to the safety aspect don't they............

If this country had to start again (yes I know an impossibility) it would not even be a third world country but a fourth world country

with the namby pandy left wing attitude that is here now !

Rant over.....or is it?

Bob Grundy

It seems to me that it's neither left-wing nor namby-pamby to be concerned about the well-being of seven year old children - indeed, such concerns would seem to mark us as being a touch more civilised than most. After all, seven year olds are under the age of criminal responsibility (a concept introduced before notions of a left-wing) - would it prove that we're better than the third world if we went back a hundred-years or so and deported them to a penal colony or threw them in jail? Or went back even further and burnt them at the stake to teach them the consequences of defiling "Holy" places?

Do you seriously expect the police to ignore the fact that seven year olds are walking about with matches and to concentrate solely on their "crime" - perhaps you believe that seven year old "criminals" deserve all they get?

Cheers-salesie.

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Aren't these children just arson about?

:lol::lol:

Matchless!

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I agree with various sentiments here. Yes we need to be concerned with 7 year olds having the wherewithal to light fires-where or who did they get it from? Where did their parents think they were? Also it amazes me that after the first incident they were able to go back and do it again!

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One had red hair and the other black - the police are not too concerned about the black-headed one as his conviction may be spent, but they are desperate to catch the red-head, saying they believe he could strike at any moment.

Cheers-salesie.

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Hmmmm, living in Harrogate as I do, and already having read the headlines in Friday's local newspaper, it saddened and dismayed me too what has happened. But mostly I'm ashamed.

It is a beautiful cemetery and has a separate war graves section (which, by the way, also contains WWI graves/memorials) but it's not an overly busy place to be truthful. This doesn't excuse what the children have done, but they are children and it's what children do - unfortunately!!

I am just glad that it wasn't something more serious, such as someone's home.

I would like the police to catch whoever's done it, but I'm sure there are more pressing things for them to concern themselves with.

It was in another Harrogate cemetery (Grove Road) which was the cause of all headstones which were likely to fall over (no matter how remote the chance) being laid flat. Because of youngsters playing in the graveyard, one fell over and killed him.

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Having been there very recently to photo the Aussie headstones for Spidge and feeling ever so humble for the sacrifice that they gave I was moved to write a comment in the book, so therefore I feel bloody livid that the young ones find it so mindless as to do this act.

What can anyone do as there is no punishment or trendy counselling that can cater for such mindless acts, and I should know as the wife works in a school for the up to 11's and she is sick of their attitude(roll on retirement).

The priceless book to be lost is the one bearing the Towns and sometimes addresses of the parents or next of Kin that will never be replaced unless CWGC kept a copy of it.

Sadly yours Roger.

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I didn't think the register was kept there, it hasn't been when i have visited.

Mick

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but they are desperate to catch the red-head, saying they believe he could strike at any moment.

Last seen Swanning off on a stolen Vesta scooter.

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This thread really is England's Glory.

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Disgraceful behaviour, and, in one of the 'nicer' areas of Harrogate. I was only there yesterday paying my respects to a young Canadian Bomber Crew that crashed in 1944 to the day.

Do parents know where and what their children are doing these days?

I think not.

Chris.

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The majority of the men buried in the war graves section at Stonefall are WW2 aircrew who died in Harrogate District Hospital, where my mother was a nurse in the military wing between 1944 and 1946, and so very likely nursed and knew some of them. She told me that many of them were terribly burned, and I am sure that they and she would be more concerned that these young children did not suffer the same fate, or inflict it on others. We should reserve our wrath for those old enough to know better.

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Irrespective of age, they should be birched, sterilised and conscripted.

I blame it on fluoride in the water and mobile phone radiowaves introduced by George Lansbury.

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In all seriousness, I have visited the cemetery several times, and it is truly a lovely place.

It does make me wonder what a future we are building here, but whom to blame? Maybe we would be better not blaming anyone, but rather working with society to educate these kids to do better.

Let's look on the really dismal side: in 15 years or so, I'll be relying on the people to be working in order to fund my retirement. That is a worrying prospect.

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Only 3 1/2 to go, and providing for myself as well as the State as there wont be owt left in the Kitty.

Out of all this i do hope that they dont lock the gates and access by appointment only.

Cheers Roger.

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This disgusting incident speaks volumes about the lows that the country has sunk to... guided from the top! Its just the tip of the iceberg to the thug culture that the country has become, and promotes both at home, and abroad. An attitude that was given creadence when The Right Honourable Enock Powell was jeared at, cat-called at, and boood from Parliament over his posative stand on regulating immagration.

Do-Gooders win... rest of the world looking on with disgust.

I have visited many WW.1 cemataries in Fance over the past five years, and 90% of the time, the uncaring attitude of the youth of Britain that have been present, has made me feel ashamed of my connection to them, ulbeit geographical by birth, and the society they represent. They are our future ambasidores... God Help US!

Hang your head in shame Britain... for even your own government do not use the prefix 'Great' anymore!

A saddened expat!

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