A WAR veteran has spoken of his distress on reading how yobs attacked crosses laid to remember the fallen servicemen of Torquay.
Denis Kelly, 91, says more should be done to educate those who do not appreciate the sacrifices made during by young British men in World War Two.
Denis served with the Royal Scots Fusiliers and fought bravely across Europe to defeat the Nazis.
Among the white crosses in the churchyard of St Andrew’s Church in Tor Church Road is that of his brother, Horatio Kelly, who was killed by the Japanese in 1944.
Horatio was just 29 when he was killed in the jungle fighting with the Chindits — a group of specially-trained soldiers who fought deep behind enemy lines.
The two brothers grew up in Barton Hill Road in Torquay and Denis has never forgotten the bravery of Horatio.
He still visits the simple white cross in the churchyard bearing the name of his big brother.
Two weeks ago the Herald Express reported how Toby Cronshaw was attacked and beaten after confronting a group of young men who were kicking and urinating on the crosses.
He was knocked unconscious from behind and suffered a dislocated jaw.
Denis said: “I was very saddened to read the story and I feel those people who did it should also be saddened by what they have done.
“They should undergo a period of re-education to tell them about how these young men devoted their lives so they could be free.”
The simple but dignified cross bearing the name of Horatio Kelly is one of several dozen commemorating fallen servicemen from Torquay.
Denis’s daughter Kathryn said: “We go to the churchyard every Remembrance Sunday.
“The family was absolutely appalled by the disgusting behaviour. I hope the man who stepped in is all right now.
“Men like my father and Horatio fought so we did not have to live under Nazism. They spent five years of their lives fighting and these people come along and have no connection with what it means.
“There ought to be some sort of programme to deal with them.”
Denis followed in his brother’s footsteps and after serving with the Local Defence Force joined the Royal Scots and saw service in Belgium and Berlin.
Kathryn said: “He knows almost everyone of those young men on the crosses as they are all from Torquay.
“It means a lot to somebody of my father’s age and is appalling for him to think that the security of the crosses is threatened and there is such a lack of respect.”
Police issued an appeal after the incident at the church, now run by the Greek Orthodox Church, on Saturday, August 3.
They are looking for three males aged in their late teens to early 20s. One had short curly ginger hair and was wearing a baseball cap on the back of his head. The second was wearing a white polo shirt with grey horizontal lines across it.
The third male was wearing a tight fitting white T-shirt with a multi-coloured geometric design on the front of it.”
Anyone with information should call 101 (quoting crime reference FT/13/5159).