RSA appalled by desecration of NZ war graves in Libya

Press Release – Returned Services Association

The Royal New Zealand RSA is appalled to learn of the desecration of New Zealand war graves at the Benghazi war cemetery in Libya. Over the weekend 238 headstones were damaged in Benghazi War Cemetery (total burials 1051 Commonwealth servicemen), …7 March 2012

RSA appalled by desecration of NZ war graves in Libya

The Royal New Zealand RSA is appalled to learn of the desecration of New Zealand war graves at the Benghazi war cemetery in Libya.

Over the weekend 238 headstones were damaged in Benghazi War Cemetery (total burials 1051 Commonwealth servicemen), in the seaport city of Benghazi.

Eleven New Zealand soldiers are buried at Benghazi and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has confirmed all 11 headstones have been damaged.

A New Zealander working in Benghazi, Willy Williscroft, has contacted RSA National Office to advise that he has seen the damage firsthand and that a number of ex-pats assembled the broken grave stones back into recognizable groupings.

The RSA is heartened by the assurances of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, an inter-governmental agency based in London and funded by member countries to maintain war graves, that the cemetery will be restored to a “standard befitting the sacrifice of those commemorated at Benghazi as soon as possible”.

Almost 615 servicemen and women of the Commonwealth, who fought for the freedom of Libya, lie buried in that country or are commemorated on memorials.

For whatever reason, the vandalism of headstones and memorials can only be described as one of the most despicable and cowardly forms of protest. RSA is sure that all decent minded people would wish that those responsible for this desecration are held accountable for their actions and it is hoped that the Libyan Government will make every effort to apprehend them.

New Zealanders buried at Benghazi War Cemetery

BOULT, Private, HEDLEY JAMES, 40378. 19th Bn. N.Z. Infantry. 10th November 1942. Age 40. Son of Albert William and Elizabeth Harriet Boult, of Bristol, England; husband of Lily Boult, of Miramar, Wellington, New Zealand. 6. G. 5.

CRAWFORD, Flying Officer (Pilot), HECTOR HUGH, 39904. 272 (R.A.F.) Sqdn. Royal New Zealand Air Force. 6th February 1942. Age 25. Son of William and Mabel Crawford, of Karori, Wellington, New Zealand. 6. G. 1.

FEASEY, Flight Sergeant (W.Op./Air Gnr.), LORENZO RICHARD, 403572. 37 (R.A.F.) Sqdn. Royal New Zealand Air Force. 20th June 1942. Age 20. Son of Richard George Feasey and of Rachel Eleanor Feasey (nee Bradley), of Petone, Wellington, New Zealand. 6. G. 8.

KAUTER, Flying Officer (Pilot), WILLIAM LYNN, 405281. 37 (R.A.F.) Sqdn. Royal New Zealand Air Force. 20th June 1942 Age 26. Son of Stephen Kauter and of Clara Harriet Clarendale Kauter (nee Steed), of Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. 6. G. 9.

MILNE, Lance Corporal, ARTHUR LESLIE, 15071. N.Z. Army Service Corps. 21st September 1942. Age 24. Son of David Milne and of Edith Milne (nee Hyde), of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. 6. G. 6.

MUTTON, Serjeant, MAURICE REGINALD, 22570. 21st Bn. N.Z. Infantry. 1st January 1943. Age 24. Son of Walter Henry Mutton and of Doris Charlotte Mutton (nee Scott), of Auckland City, New Zealand. 6. G. 3.

McAULAY, Lieutenant, HECTOR ALEXANDER, 34091. 2nd Div. Cavalry Regt. N.Z. Armoured Corps. 26th January 1943. Age 35. Son of Robert Samuel and Margaret McAulay, of Elsthorpe, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand; husband of Doris Yeoll McAulay, of Napier, Hawke’s Bay. 6. G. 11.

RIDLAND, Flight Sergeant (Nav.), MITCHELL, 421941. 462 (R.A.AF.) Sqdn. Royal New Zealand Air Force. 12th October 1943. Age 35. Son of Sinclair William and Margaret Agnes Ridland, of Lake Kanieri, Hokitika, Westland, New Zealand. 6. G. 4.

SCOTT, Aircraftman 1st Class, THOMAS MARTIN, 413618. Royal New Zealand Air Force serving with Royal Air Force. 19th August 1943. Age 25. Son of David Martin Scott and of Annabell Scott (nee Lewis), of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. 6. G. 10.

THURSTON, Pilot Officer (Pilot), WILLIAM GEORGE DUNCAN, 41376. 37 (R.A.F.) Sqdn. Royal New Zealand Air Force. 20th June 1942. Age 27. Son of Frederick Thurston and of Mary Thurston (nee Crossan), of Heriot, Otago, New Zealand; husband of Hazel Thurston, of Rangiora, Canterbury, New Zealand. 6. G. 7.

WARDLE, Private, PETER EDGAR ALFRED VIVIENNE, 35745. 19th Bn. N.Z. Infantry. 17th July 1942. Age 24. Son of Peter and Clara Emma Wardle, of Wellington City, New Zealand. 6. G. 2.

ENDS

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