‘Disgust’ at memorial plaque theft

AMERICAN AIRMEN: Community ‘disgusted’ by theft from war memorial

A TEAM of volunteers and trustees responsible for maintaining a war memorial at a former US air base have said the theft of a copper commemorative plaque from the site is “appalling”.

The plaque was taken from the location off the A140 at Brockford, near Mendlesham, some time between 9am on Monday and 7pm on Tuesday.

The memorial was created in 1949 as a way of paying respect to all those who had served at RAF Mendlesham, a Second World War airfield.

The base was a key strategic position for the US Air Force’s 34th Bomb Group and many airmen lost their lives during missions from the site.

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Enid Lambert, 74, is one of a group of volunteers who regularly lay flowers at the memorial and said she could not understand why someone would commit such a crime.

She said: “It’s absolutely disgusting. I was told by the parish clerk and I contacted the others that lay the flowers to let them know.

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“They have been absolutely devastated. There’s no other word for it.

“We feel disgusted that somebody should stoop so low. Of course, there are no known graves (for some of the dead airmen) because a lot of them went down in the sea.”

Patrick Hitchcock, one of two trustees who oversee the upkeep of the memorial, said it was an “appalling crime” and appealed for the plaque, which is engraved with the image of an airman and the cockpit of a fighter plane, to be returned.

He said: “It will shock a lot of people, just to think of what a terrible society we live in, really.

“These people came over from another country to fight for us and it’s a memorial to them and somebody, who has just got no respect for them at all, has just ripped the thing off the wall. It’s appalling.”

Fellow trustee Gerald Stedman, a retired farmer who donated the land for the memorial when it was moved in the 1980s, said he found it “difficult to understand” why anyone would act in such a way.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to telephone Sgt Nick Emerick, of the Mid Suffolk Central Safer Neighbourhood Team, on 01284 774100.


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