An ornamental bronze plaque has been stolen off a Langley cenotaph honouring soldiers who died in the First and Second World Wars.
The plaque, which shows crossed rifles and a First World War-style soldier’s helmet, was first reported missing on Sept. 4, by staff at Murrayville Cemetery.
Township of Langley Cemetery Supervisor Kevin Bunnett said he was showing the family of a veteran the cenotaph when he saw that the bronze ornament was gone.
“It is disrespectful, big time,” Bunnett said of the theft, adding that there have been very few problems with theft or vandalism at the Murrayville Cemetery. Located at 21405 – 44 Ave., the graveyard is surrounded by “good neighbours” who are conscientious about reporting problems to the Township or the Langley RCMP, he said.
The cenotaph is located at the far southwestern end of the cemetery, which slopes gently down towards the lip of the escarpment above the Nicomekl flood plain.
The sizeable stone cenotaph is one of two built in the years following the First World War.
Veterans of that conflict returned to Langley, but left many of their friends and neighbours on battlefields in France and Belgium.
The cenotaphs were built in Fort Langley, and in Murrayville, in what was then known as the Langley Prairie Cemetery.
Over the years, Royal Canadian Legion branches in Langley City and Aldergrove also built their own cenotaphs.
Every Remembrance Day, Nov. 11, major ceremonies are held in Langley City, Aldergrove, and at the Fort Langley Cemetery’s cenotaph.
Murrayville’s is the only cenotaph in Langley without an official ceremony of remembrance, but on most years half a dozen to a dozen individuals will gather spontaneously, observe a moment of silence at 11 a.m., and place poppies on the marker.
This is not the first time one of the memorials has been vandalized.
The Fort’s cenotaph had its metal plaques stolen several years ago, and the Murrayville marker was used as a model to craft the replacements.
Now the same will have to happen in reverse, if the plaques are not found.
“We’d like to find it, and ask that anyone with information leading to it to call the Langley RCMP,” Bunnett said. The RCMP can be contacted at 604-532-3200, or to remain anonymous, call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
@ Copyright 2013