Vandals show ‘total lack of respect’ by damaging Letchworth First World War poppy garden

A bed of poppies in the memorial garden at Letchworth railway station was vandalised on Friday. Cred

A bed of poppies in the memorial garden at Letchworth railway station was vandalised on Friday. Credit: Peter Colvin - Credit: Archant

Vandals have showed a “total lack of respect” by damaging a poppy garden which has been planted 100 years after the outbreak of the First World War in honour of those who died.

Major Chris Ormond and Captain Charlotte Goodwin at the memorial garden.

Major Chris Ormond and Captain Charlotte Goodwin at the memorial garden. - Credit: Archant

The memorial garden at Letchworth railway station is part of a project by rail operator First Capital Connect to remember servicemen killed in the conflict – with a ceremonial opening yesterday marking 100 years since Britain entered the Great War.

A FCC spokesman said: “On Friday night the First World War memorial garden was the target of an act of vandalism. A lot of people had put so much work into the poppy garden so it was obviously disappointing to hear that it had been damaged.

“FCC condemns the actions of those who carried out the act – not only was it destroying private property but disrespecting what the garden represented. We will be working with the British Transport Police and reviewing the CCTV footage to identify those responsible.”

The commemorative display has been put together in partnership with Herts at War, which seeks to document the diverse experiences of Hertfordshire during the war.

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Project co-ordinator Dan Hill said: “Obviously it’s terrible to hear about and see the total lack of respect for those in our town that fought and died for their country. I think it must have been an act of ignorance because I don’t see how someone could have the mindset to do damage to a war memorial deliberately.

“FCC has done a great job in revising the display of poppies, but this project has been in the offing for a while so the people who did it should be incredibly ashamed.”

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Adrian Chatt, from Letchworth, said: “Over the past few weeks I have watched as the memorial garden on platform 1 at Letchworth Garden City station has been prepared ready for the 100th anniversary of the start of this terrible conflict.

“However when at the station it appeared that the garden had been vandalised over the weekend, with the poppies flattened, and in some cases torn up. After the effort that has gone into getting this ready, that this should happen before the official opening is something that saddens me.

“Many young men departed from this station to the front, and FCC should be proud of their efforts to commemorate this. The mindless vandals who wrecked the garden should hang their heads in shame.”

A British Transport Police spokesman said: “Officers are checking CCTV footage to find those responsible for the damage, which would be despicable at any time, but especially when the country is remembering the sacrifice given by so many in the Great War.”

Anyone with information on the vandalism should contact BTP on 0800 405040 or send a text to 61016, quoting reference 173 of August 4.

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