It is one of the most striking landmarks in the Medway towns resting on the top of the Great lines visible from as far away as Strood and Rochester. The Navy memorial commemorates the fallen sailors of Chatham based warships and the towns lost sons, husbands and fathers who gave their lives at sea for Britain and her Empire. There is even a plaque on the tragic loss of the crew of HMS Bulwark killed in an accident off the isle of Sheppy.
There are 1800 names on the memorial and it is the only place that most of these men are to be remembered.
The Government is clamping down upon this to make sure that metal dealers are only buying legitimate metal but it is a long road and there will always be those who are more than happy to turn a blind eye to the source of their metal.
Although the Commonwealth Graves Commission has promised to repair the damage as a priority they shouldn't have to. After all this is a memorial to the fallen who gave their lives for this country. It is fundamentally wrong to steal from the dead or to vandalise graves but for me, personally,acts against war memorials and graves are far worse.
To fight and die for your country is one of the finest things a person can do. I know I sound like one of those old Kitchener-esq dinosaurs who holds firm to Dulce et decorum est but if you are willing to lay down your life for something you should be remembered. I wrote a while ago about the Death of history and how society is slowly forgetting what has happened as memories and generations fade. The First World war is almost a century ago now and the Second war is 70 years ago. Why should people care?
Because these men died to protect Democracy, our way of life, our nation, homes and families. A German occupation in World War Two would have been an ugly affair and many would have been killed in Nacht und Nabel decrees, anti-Semitic policy and even under the Military Government's reign for partisan activities. A First World War occupation would have been more lenient but still strict, as Grandson of Queen Victoria, Kaiser Wilhelm had a claim on the throne and could have easily taken over and drastically altered our nation even making German one of our national languages!
These men fell preserving our nation and society and now a handful of thieves have desecrated their only memorial, a truly terrible act.
I would urge anyone who has any information about this case, however small to contact the Police on 101 quoting reference: 04-0094 or Crimestoppers on: 0800555111
These people need to be brought to justice for this heinous act of vandalism.