Veterans shocked after Falklands memorial defaced

NOT HAPPY From left, veterans Chris Purcell and Joe Erskine
NOT HAPPY From left, veterans Chris Purcell and Joe Erskine
The USS George HW Bush at anchor in Stokes Bay, Gosport, Hampshire, England 

Picture: Malcolm Wells (170727-6460)

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A MEMORIAL to the men who died in the Falklands War has been vandalised.

The plaque next to the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth has had the words ‘God Bless You David’ etched into it.

The vandalism has stunned Falklands veterans and comes just four months before a big memorial service at the site.

Chris Purcell, who lost 20 colleagues when his ship HMS Sheffield was hit by an Argentine missile strike, said: ‘It’s absolutely shocking, I can’t believe someone would do this to a war memorial.

‘It just doesn’t make sense. The only thing I can think of is that someone has drunk too much and gone there and done it in memory of someone they’ve lost. But still it shouldn’t have been done.’

The 51-year-old, who lives in Fratton, added: ‘It’s very disturbing. I often go down there to collect my thoughts and think about my friends who died. It feels like 20 of my mates have been defaced.’

It is hoped the plaque can be restored before the annual Falkland service and parade on Sunday, June 19.

Joe Erskine, 53, from Farlington, who is a trustee of the South Atlantic Medals Association 1982, said: ‘It’ll look awful if it’s like this on June 19. It needs to be fixed by a professional stonemason as soon as possible.’

Portsmouth City Council is responsible for the plaque. Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said: ‘We’ll get it sorted out as soon as possible.

‘I’ve asked the seafront management team to look into it and we’ll have it sorted.’