Memorial plaques to Portsmouth’s Blitz dead stolen

I’ve just read something pretty disappointing on the Portsmouth News website. Apparently thieves have stolen plaques from a memorial in Kingston Cemetery, remembering victims of the Blitz in Portsmouth.

The memorial is granite, and around 1.5 metres high, with four plaques listing over 120 names, including many whose bodies could not be identified. The inscription reads:

“Erected to the memory of those men, women and children both known and unknown who died as a result of enemy bombing on this city and whose last resting place is near this spot.”

What really makes me sad about this is that either the thieves managed to prize the metal from the memorial in broad daylight (you can drive around the cemetery, so perhaps they took a van right up to it), or they did it at night when the Cemetery is closed. It is locked at dusk, because I have almost been locked in before (my Grandad was once years ago). I doubt very much whether people who are willing to go to those lengths will be too bothered about defacing a war memorial, sadly. Many of my family were in Portsmouth during the blitz, they could very easily have been killed and their names ended up on these plaques. A memorial is the same as a grave, and to steal a memorial is like grave-robbing.

It’s by no means the first time that metal has been robbed from a war memorial – perhaps the most high profile case is that of the Naval Memorial in Portsmouth, where one large bronze plaque was taken from the memorial on Plymouth Hoe. We are told that the price of scap metal is at an all-time high at the moment, and certainly there have been a lot of thefts of lead from School, museum and church roofs in the last couple of years. And then theres the theft of copper railway signal cabling.

One has to look at scrap metal dealers in this kind of situation. Someone, somewhere, will be no doubt receiving some big lumps of metal that are quite obviously from a war memorial. If scrap metal dealers had more scruples about what they accepted from dodgy characters out the back of vans, then people wouldn’t bother going out and nicking it in the first place. For me, it is time legislation got tough with the scrap metal industry.



Filed under Remembrance, Uncategorized

7 responses to “Memorial plaques to Portsmouth’s Blitz dead stolen

  1. John Erickson

    We’ve had a lot of thefts of stuff like aluminium siding and copper piping in the poorer areas of many cities. We’ve even had people killed tacking live copper wire. I know Canada has had a couple occurrences of memorial damage, including a (if I recall) an occurrence in Hamilton, home of my beloved Royal Hamilton Light Infantry – in addition to several thefts.
    I can understand the appeal of easy money, and I don’t fully blame the thieves. (Mostly, but not fully.) Here in the States, there are plenty of examples of people talking down veterans’ sacrifices and devaluing commemoration of battles past. We are too caught up in our today to worry about “that ancient history”, especially as fewer of our WW2 vets are around every day. If I were in charge, ANY act of public vandalism would earn the vandals a stint cleaning up memorials while having the importance of the sacrifices being drilled into their heads. We are SO close to becoming a country where we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of history, having failed to learn our lessons.
    When a neighbor’s kid asked last year “what is the pretty red flag with the flower on it” – the Canadian Maple Leaf I hung out for Dieppe’s anniversary – I realised the Goths have arrived.

  2. x

    It is disgusting. As you say it isn’t exactly hidden away is it?

  3. Edna Cahill

    My memory is of all the children who were killed when the cinema in Lake Road was destroyed, apart from the adult casualties.


    • James Daly

      My Grandad and great-aunt were due to go to the cinema that day, but went to the park instead as it was a nice day.

  4. Hopefully the thieves will be dealt with promptly.

    • James Daly

      How ironic. Some little scrotes have nicked signalling cable in the littlehampton area, and I’m now over an hour late for work!

  5. How can anyone live with themselves who would go out of their way and steal someones memorial plague, the mind simply boggles!

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