Vandals inflict ‘senseless damage’ to Hornchurch war memorial

The Hornchurch War Memorial at St Andrew's Church

The Hornchurch war memorial at St Andrew's Church - Credit: Archant

"Despicable" vandals have targeted Hornchurch war memorial by smashing the steps and kicking over wooden crosses over the bank holiday.  

Situated at the front of St Andrew’s Church, where events such as Remembrance Sunday and the upcoming Armed Forces Day are held, the incident is believed to have happened on Saturday evening or Sunday morning of the long Mayday weekend. 

Carole Barratt, a member of the Hornchurch Royal British Legion, said she was told by Reverend Ken Wylie after a parishioner spotted the damage when heading to the church's early Sunday service. 

She said the site was left in a "complete mess”, and the actions of those involved were “despicable”. 

“I just felt it should be reported. It’s not good enough," she said. 

“It is now not looking good because of the broken-up step, and it is something we have now got to look to get repaired.” 

She is thankful that “it wasn’t the actual wording of the memorial that has been damaged”. 

The damage also included the knocking over of wooden crosses in front of the memorial

The damage also included the knocking over of wooden crosses in front of the memorial - Credit: Carole Barratt

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Reverend Ken Wylie added he had only recently been telling someone about how good Hornchurch normally is, before the vandalism to the memorial.

His response to the incident is, he said, that of "sadness that it happens.

"It's just very sad."

Cllr Paul Middleton, a Hornchurch Residents’ Association representative for St Andrew’s, said he was “beyond bewildered” and “disgusted” as to why someone would choose to attack the memorial. 

He said he believes it looks as if the damage to the steps was done with hammers, with the wooden crosses representing those who died in war appearing as if kicked over. 

“I cannot imagine why someone would do such senseless damage.” 

The damage is believed to have been caused on the Saturday evening/Sunday morning of the weekend

The damage is believed to have been caused on the Saturday evening/Sunday morning of the weekend - Credit: Carole Barratt

He added that he thinks Hornchurch has been “very good” over the last few months, with few negative incidents in the town, meaning the vandalism to the war memorial “came as a shock”. 

He is looking to work with another prospective Hornchurch Residents’ Association candidate to set up a fundraising page to get the memorial repaired. 

Cllr Middleton hopes to get this going by the end of the week, once they have an idea about the repairs' likely cost. 

The Met Police was approached for comment, but they said officers have yet to receive a report on the incident.