The graves of fallen heroes, including the one that belonged to 21-year-old air gunner Sgt.
Peter William Bilsborough who passed away when his plane caught fire during a mission in 1941, was desecrated by ruthless thugs.
Sgt. Bilsborough’s niece, 63-year-old Julie Watson, said the vandalism of graves at the Hirst Wood burial ground was “absolutely despicable.”
“It’s horrible that the people that are responsible for this are able to walk around freely, but those who died cannot because they sacrificed everything for us,” said Ms. Watson.
“My uncle died before I was born, but he has been in my life because I have put the time in to researching him and finding out about what he did in the Second World War.”
Ms. Watson described how her uncle passed away in November 1941. Sgt. Bilsborough’s Wellington bomber was forced to ditch after engine failure and he drowned in the sea.
The grave of World War I driver, Arthur Sheard, was also damaged. He passed away at the age of 30 in May 1918 after being severely injured in the field.
Mr. Sheard was buried with full military honors alongside his 4-year-old daughter, who also died one day after him. Nevertheless, thugs smashed his headstone into multiple pieces.
Memorials to soldier James Grimshaw Crossley and leading aircraft Frank Whittaker were also destroyed.
Leading Aircraftman Whittaker passed away on May 25, 1944, while Mr. Crossley passed away in 1916.
The grave of a Royal Engineer sapper and gunner Henry Asquith Hardy was also badly damaged.
West Yorkshire police are still investigating the vandalism.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission responsible for watching over the graves said they were “deeply upset” by the incident.
“I think this must have been a targeted attack – the graves stand out because they are white, and whoever has done this clearly had some sort of equipment to help them,” Ms. Watson added.
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