UK: Anger as temporary cenotaph made for D-Day Anniversary knocked over, vandalised and subject to attempted arson

Members of the public have reacted with anger after a temporary cenotaph erected to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day was knocked over, vandalised and subjected to attempted arson.

The structure, which had been erected as part of commemorations for the 80th anniversary of D-Day on Thursday, was only put up in Long Ashton near Bristol on Tuesday.

But by 06:00 BST on Wednesday volunteers discovered that it had been knocked down and damaged overnight.

Avon and Somerset Police said it is conducting a “thorough investigation” into the vandalism.

Dave Addis, secretary of the village’s Royal British Legion branch, said everybody involved was “pretty upset”.

“They picked up what was to become our flagpole and used it to lever the war memorial down, and that was when they failed to set light to it,” he said.

Mr Addis is part of a team preparing to mark the anniversary of D-Day with an event in Andrée Peel Park, where a beacon will be lit in remembrance as part of a national ‘chain’ of beacons.

The group expected to spend Wednesday preparing for the event but have been forced to change their plans out of a fear other items could be damaged overnight.

“We won’t do anything until tomorrow now,” Mr Addis said.

“The main event will continue tomorrow, but it might not be with all the facilities we had in mind.”

Mr Addis said the damage has been reported to police.

“They’ve given us a crime reference number but I think they regard that as vandalism, whereas I regard it as desecrating a war memorial which is slightly different,” he said.

Avon and Somerset Police confirmed it had received a call shortly after 11:00 BST on Wednesday morning about the damage, adding that it believed the vandalism to have taken place between 20:00 on Tuesday and 08:00 Wednesday.

PC James Coglan said: “We fully appreciate the sensitivity around this incident, particularly given the timing, and will be conducting a thorough investigation.

“Enquiries to identify those responsible are ongoing and we would encourage anyone who has any information to contact us.”

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