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‘Mindless’ vandals throw white paint over WWII Bomber Command Memorial



Britain’s last surviving Dambuster has hit out at “mindless” vandals who threw white paint thrown over the Bomber Command Memorial in central London.

The RAF Benevolent Fund said it was the fourth time in six years that the World War Two statue in Green Park had been sabotaged.

They added that the paint was still wet at “daybreak” on Monday.

Squadron leader George “Johnny” Johnson was one of the so-called Dambusters, who conducted a night of aerial raids on German dams in 1943.

The bombing was an effort to disable Hitler’s industrial heartland.

The 97-year-old World War Two veteran said of the damage to the memorial: “What a disgrace, such mindless vandalism.

“How disrespectful to the nearly 58,000 people who gave their lives so that these thugs have the freedom to carry out such acts? I hope they are caught soon, and suitably punished.”

The RAF Benevolent Fund has said it spends around £40,000 maintaining the memorial
The RAF Benevolent Fund has said it spends around £40,000 a year maintaining the memorial

Fellow Bomber Command veteran, Air Commodore Charles Clarke, was a bomb aimer who was captured and imprisoned by the Nazis after parachuting from his burning plane.

He called the vandalism “disgraceful” and “mindless” and added it “did not achieve anything”.

CCTV footage from near the Bomber Command Memorial – which commemorates more than 55,500 members of the Bomber Command who died in the Second World War – has been passed to police.

A statue of the wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill and former US president Franklin D Roosevelt in New Bond Street, London, was also targeted with white paint.

Images on social media also showed damage to the Royal Marines Graspan Memorial on The Mall near Buckingham Palace.

A statue of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Sir Winston Churchill, right, was also vandalised
A statue of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Sir Winston Churchill, right, was also vandalised

Police have also received reports of damage to the Canada Memorial in Green Park, with white paint also sprayed on a shop front in New Bond Street.

Scotland Yard said officers are investigating reports of criminal damage to a number of statues in west London.

The Met said no arrests have been made and inquiries are ongoing.

The force added that officers are “working to establish whether the incidents are linked”.

Air Vice-Marshal David Murray, the RAF Benevolent Fund chief executive, told Sky News: “We spend about £40,000 a year maintaining the memorial, and somebody thought it was appropriate or clever to do so much damage.

“It’s not about money though, it’s about the people who it represents, it’s about who gave their lives and sacrificed for our country.

David Murray has said the vandalism shows a 'complete lack of respect'
David Murray has said the vandalism shows a ‘complete lack of respect’

“It’s about those comrades, the veterans who are still alive now in their 90s.

“A complete lack of respect has been shown, that’s what has happened in the last 24 hours.”

Former British Army officer Johnny Mercer, now a Conservative MP, also criticised the vandalism.

He said: “The courage and aspiration these memorials commemorate is sorely lacking in some corners of Britain – and in fact her politics – at the moment.”

The Bomber Command statue was vandalised in 2013 when a man daubed the word “Islam” on it shortly after the killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby outside Woolwich Barracks.

A second man wrote “Lee Rigby’s killers should hang”, “EDL” and “F*** the police” on the memorial a week later.

He was jailed for 12 weeks.

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