Nova Scotia

Halifax war memorial target of vandals

A flag at a war memorial in Halifax's Point Pleasant Park has become the target of vandals.
Gaylord Kingston wants the memorial to be respected. (CBC)

A flag at a war memorial in Halifax's Point Pleasant Park has become the target of vandals.

"Unfortunately we've had some vandalism where we have lost one or two flags. We've had the halyards cut because someone likes the nylon rope and it's a cost to us," said Gaylord Kingston, a veteran who helps maintain the flagpole and the flag, along with other members of the Atlantic Chiefs & Petty Officers Association.

The flag hangs on a mast next to the Sailor's Memorial, to commemorate one of the most brutal routes of the Second World War — the Murmansk Run.

"The Murmansk Run was to supply Russia and it was one of the more treacherous runs," said Kingston.

More than 20 per cent of all cargo on the Murmansk Run was lost and one convoy lost 24 of 33 ships, with 153 lives lost, according to Veterans Affairs Canada.

So dangerous was the Murmansk Run, that orders were given that no merchant ship was allowed to stop — even to rescue sailors who fell overboard.

Jean-Christophe de le Rue, a spokesman for Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney, said in an email the minister is "appalled and saddened" by the reports of vandalism.

"The individuals who are responsible for the vandalism should face the full force of law," de le Rue wrote.

"Our veterans deserve our respect and recognition."

Each time the flag and halyard goes missing, it costs a few hundred dollars to replace and re-rig it, but that's not the troubling thing to Kingston.

"There is plaque placed at the foot of the mast which shows that it was dedicated to the men who lost their lives during the Murmansk Run, so it's as significant as any war memorial," Kingston said.

"Just look at it respect it and admire it and appreciate the fact that it is part of Canadian history, and Canada today. Just respect it and allow it to be as it should be, a memorial monument to our dead, our war dead."