Thursday, October 25, 2007

War graves defaced with Nazi symbols

By Auslan Cramb, Scottish Correspondent

Last Updated: 1:40am BST 25/10/2007

The graves of British soldiers killed in the Great War have been covered with Nazi symbols in an act condemned as "appalling desecration".

Vandals painted swastikas and SS insignias on the headstones of 32 Scottish soldiers who died during the Battle of the Somme.

The attack caused thousands of pounds worth of damage at the Peake Wood Cemetery near Contalmaison, France, just days before Remembrance Sunday.

The cemetery marks the spot from which the final assault was made on Contalmaison on July 1, 1916, the first day of the battle on which nearly 20,000 men lost their lives.

The 16th Royal Scots, known as McCrae's Battalion, lost almost 75 per cent of their troops.

Many of them were laid to rest at the small cemetery, which records 103 fallen Allied soldiers.