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Vandalism at Leopoldsburg War Cemetery

19 June 2012

Eleven CWGC headstones have been damaged in three separate attacks by vandals at the Leopoldsburg War Cemetery in Belgium.

The attacks appear to have been random and without motive. Of the eleven casualties whose headstones were broken, nine were British Army; one was from the RAF; and one from the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The Director of the Northern Europe Area of the CWGC, Ian Hussein, deplored the attacks.

"We deeply regret that anyone should vandalise the memorials of those who made the ultimate sacrifice," he said. "We have no idea why they did it, but we will repair the damage as quickly as possible so that the commemoration of those who fell, in the cause of the freedom of Belgium, is maintained."

The mayor of Leopoldsburg, Erwin van Pée, said he was deeply shocked. "This type of grave desecration has been unheard of in our community before now. I deeply deplore these acts of vandalism. I hope the culprits will be caught so that they can be punished. Their acts are an insult to the memory of those who died for our country. Only the deepest respect, for the known as well as for the unknown soldier, is appropriate for a war cemetery."

Commissaris Eric Cenens, of the local police at Leopoldsburg, said the latest attack - on June 11th - had been part of a wider pattern of violence. "On the same night there was vandalism at the local station and many cars were damaged."

Commissaris Cenens does not think the cemetery was a particular target, but nonetheless, police will be increasing their patrols in the area to protect the cemetery and prevent further damage.