FALLEN civilians of the Second World War were honoured during the unveiling of new plaques replacing those stolen by scrap metal thieves.
The new memorial in Kingston Cemetery, Fratton, was revealed yesterday at a remembrance service dedicated to those named on the plaques.
As previously reported in The News. the metal plaques – commemorating those who lost their lives in bombing raids during the war – were snatched a few months ago by thieves.
The new ones are made from slate to deter criminals from taking them from the cemetery, which is owned by Portsmouth City Council.
Among those listed on it is Peter Futcher, who died at the age of 12 during an air raid in Southsea.
His younger sister Joyce Paine, 80, of Netley Road, Southsea, said: ‘It was a horrible feeling when I found out what happened to the memorial, I was distraught.
‘I just couldn’t understand what would possess people to do such a thing – it couldn’t have been worth that much.
‘It was so disrespectful and put everything into perspective.
‘But now that there’s a new one up, it feels like the respect has been restored.’
Names on the plaques are now listed in alphabetical order – as opposed to by plot number as before.
And the memorial now contains the line: ‘Also to the memory of those unidentified’.
Gerard O’Brien, cemeteries manager, said: ‘It was really saddening to find that the old plaques had been stolen, given their significance.
‘And for that reason we thought it was important to replace them as quickly as we could and in time for Remembrance Day. We’re really happy we managed to get it done on time. Hopefully it has eliminated some of the stress and pain that the families felt when the found out they had been stolen.’
Members of Portsmouth’s Royal British Legion laid wreaths at the foot of the new memorial.
Rev Charlotte Hetherington, of St Mary’s Church, led the service before a minute’s silence to remember the dead. Similar ceremonies were held at Milton Cemetery, Milton, and Highland Road Cemetery, Southsea, earlier yesterday morning.