Vandals have desecrated Selkirk’s war memorial in Ettrick Terrace, scouring the stonework ‘LOL’: shorthand meaning ‘Laugh Out Loud’.
Nine arrows, scraped deep and straight, mysteriously point in every direction in the sandstone balustrades of the memorial to the town’s fallen.
Perhaps leaving a clue for police, the desecrators also inscribed the initials ‘RI’ or ‘RT’, and the name ‘Jacks’.
“I’m shocked,” reacted Royal Burgh ex-serviceman Graham Easton. “It’s disrespectful. Diabolical.”
“Speaking on behalf of Selkirk’s Royal British Legion and the community council, it’s shameful.It’s wanton vandalism. Their initials might point to the perpetrators,” the former Royal Corps of Signals yeoman added.
Police appealed for witnesses to come forward. “Inquiries are at an early stage,” they stated, “but it is understood eight stones on the memorial have been damaged and will require specialist treatment to restore.
“The damage is believed to have taken place between September 1 and October 15. Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101 or the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
In 2006, a student who defaced the soldiers’ names with a black marker pen before the Remembrance Sunday parade, and inscribed her own name, was caught and fined £150.
Sentencing, Sheriff Kevin Drummond told her: “We are all able to be sitting here today because of the people who died in the wars. Next time you are passing the war memorial just bear in mind the names of those people and what they did.” The 17-year-old apologised for her stupidity.
“Damage like this just can’t go on,” Councillor Gordon Edgar said yesterday. “It’s just mindless. Hopefully, the police will nail them.”
Portentiously, perhaps, the two biggest, deepest carved arrows point straight to Selkirk’s courthouse.