November 23, 2015 / 1:16 PM / 2 years ago

Australian war graves in London desecrated for second time this year

LONDON (Reuters) - Graves of Australian soldiers killed in World War One have been daubed with graffiti for the second time in seven months in London.

A worker cleans paint off a gravestone at the Harefield churchyard in Hillingdon, Britain November 23, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Blue paint sprayed on headstones at a churchyard in Hillingdon, west London was discovered on Sunday morning.

It follows a similar attack at the same Harefield Church graveyard in April ahead of celebrations to commemorate 100 years since Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC)forces landed in Gallipoli, Turkey in their first major military action of World War One.

“We are extremely disappointed by this deliberate act of vandalism and deplore the actions of those responsible,” said Mike Bullen, assistant director general for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) which manages the graves.

There are no clear words or symbols which can be made out in the graffiti to indicate any motive.

Around 10,000 ANZAC forces died in the Gallipoli campaign against Ottoman Empire forces in 1915 and April 25 is used around the world as a day to remember all those Australians and New Zealanders who died in conflict.

The graveyard is a major British site for the annual remembrance celebrations.

Police said they were investigating the incident.

The CWGC said such attacks on its graves were rare and plans to restore them to their original condition.

(This version of the story was corrected to remove reference to New Zealand graves being damaged in first and second paragraphs)

Editing by Stephen Addison

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