Naval memorial in Southsea vandalised just days after D-Day commemorations

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MINDLESS vandals have left graffiti on a naval war memorial in Southsea – days after Portsmouth saw world leaders gather for the D-Day 75 commemorations.

The naval memorial in Clarence Esplanade was targeted this morning, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Picture: Brian Harris

Picture: Brian Harris

On it is the letters ‘EOS’ – though it is unclear what this stands for.

The CWGC recently completed works to renovate the memorial ahead of the D-Day commemorations, which saw Her Majesty the Queen, prime minister Theresa May and US president Donald Trump thanking veterans for their sacrifice.

A spokesman for the commission has described the news as ‘incredibly upsetting’ describing whoever was behind this as ‘thoughtless’.

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The memorial was vandalised this morning. Picture: CWGC

The memorial was vandalised this morning. Picture: CWGC

They said: ‘It is incredibly upsetting to think that a thoughtless individual has chosen to deface this memorial, which lists the names of more than 24,000 missing naval personnel of the world wars.

‘Particularly coming only days after the Royal Family and world leaders assembled opposite Portsmouth Naval Memorial to pay tribute to the surviving D-Day veterans and remember those who died.

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The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has a perpetual commitment to remember the dead of the World Wars – while it is always distressing to learn of disrespectful damage such as this, it also serves to reinforce the importance of our continuing work.’

Leader of Portsmouth City Council and the city’s armed forces champion, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, added: ‘I’m incredibly sad to hear of what's happened to the memorial.

‘I don't know how somebody could be so stupid.

‘We will get it cleaned off as soon as we can – unlike some, we treat the memorial with proper respect.’

Co-founder of armed forces veterans charity All Call Signs, Stephen James, was disappointed that someone could do this so soon after D-Day 75.

He said: ‘They haven’t even finished collapsing the D-Day stands and someone's out doing stuff like this.

‘It just goes to show why we do things like the commemorations – nobody with the understanding of what these veterans sacrificed would have dared to do that.