First World War Centenary: Vandals Trash Edinburgh’s Garden of Remembrance

Remembrance
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Vandals have trashed the Garden of Remembrance opened to commemorate the fallen ahead of the First World War centenary in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Unidentified attackers uprooted memorial crosses and scattered poppy wreaths placed beside Edinburgh’s iconic Scott Monument in Princes Street Gardens, which separates the medieval Old Town from the Georgian New Town, the Edinburgh Evening News reports.

“We can confirm that at some point during the early hours of Saturday November 3, sections of the Edinburgh Garden and Field of Remembrance beside the Scott Monument in Princes Street Gardens were subjected to an act of vandalism. A number of items had been wilfully uprooted and pushed over,” read a joint statement issued by Legion Scotland, the Scottish wing of the Royal British Legion, and Poppy Scotland, which organises the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal for Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.

“When our staff and volunteers arrived for duty yesterday morning they were understandably distressed by what they found. The incident was immediately reported to the police and we then set about restoring the disrupted sections. This was completed by late morning.

“This is a truly deplorable and disrespectful act of malicious violence which has caused immense upset to countless people.

“The Garden and Field of Remembrance is a very special place and thousands of locals and visitors alike spend time reflecting and remembering there each year.

“Hundreds of hours are spent by our staff and volunteers planting more than 8000 remembrance symbols that are returned to us by supporters across the country. Scores of remembrance wreaths are laid by representatives of a wide spectrum of organisations during a service to remember the fallen at the opening of the Garden.”

The city’s Lord Provost — the Scottish equivalent of Lord Mayor — called the incident “deeply troubling”.

“[T]he garden of remembrance is Edinburgh’s tribute to the fallen and the idea of it being treated with anything but the utmost respect is devastating,” he asked, urging “anyone with information [about the incident] to contact the police immediately.”

“This is a reckless and thoughtless act and we need the public’s help to trace whoever did this,” added Inspector Alan Struthers for the police.

“We have already conducted local enquiries. The gates [to Princes Street Gardens] were locked so the person or persons who did this would’ve had to climb over the fence. “We would ask if anyone saw anything suspicious to speak to a police officer or contact us on 101, quoting incident number 1318.”

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