When Fulton Hogan parks and reserves worker Trudi arrived at the Dannevirke cenotaph at 5.30am yesterday, the destroyed gardens broke her heart.

"I'm just gutted and Heather, another Fulton Hogan worker who does the gardens here, will be devastated," she said.

Some time overnight on Saturday, vandals ripped more than 200 pansy and primula plants from garden beds around the cenotaph, destroyed remaining wreaths and threw them at the war memorial and scattered them around the upper domain.

Dirt and plants were thrown on to the Dannevirke cenotaph during an act of vandalism.
Dirt and plants were thrown on to the Dannevirke cenotaph during an act of vandalism.

"They're little b*****ds," said an angry Roly Ellis, president of the Dannevirke and Districts Returned and Services Association. "This is absolutely senseless and I would like to think somebody in our community knows something about this and they will tell me or the police."


With the ground around the cenotaph littered with torn-out plants, Trudi, Mr Ellis and RSA member John Hart cleared what they could, managing to salvage just a few plants.

"I'll be back tomorrow to clean up the cenotaph," Trudi said.

Another frustration for Mr Ellis was trying to contact local police.

"But with calls going through central communications, this system is completely wrong.

"We can't get a police officer here when we need them," he said.

"The person at central communications was good, but it's extremely hard trying to get someone to attend."

Dannevirke RSA executive member Denis Tatere said he was glad the white memorial crosses in the Field of Remembrance at the cenotaph had been removed earlier.

"This is just disgusting, so disrespectful," he said at the sight of the vandalism.

This is the second incident involving vandalised Anzac commemorations.

Just before Anzac Day, vandals targeted crosses which were set up at Taradale War Memorial grounds as a Field of Remembrance for serviceman from the Taradale district.

Taradale RSA president Peter Grant had said about half the crosses had been pulled out and left lying across the ground, and several had the cross spars broken off.

Sixty-five of the crosses, which were adorned with a poppy, bore the names of a soldier from the Taradale district who died in wartime, while the 66th cross honours the unknown soldier.

They were all eventually repaired and put back in place, with the RSA crew hopeful they would remain that way.

RSA national president Barry Clark said: "It's saddening, I don't think these people understand the significance of these memorials."

Mr Clark said the people "desecrating these memorials" were disrespecting not only those who had fought in the past but also current military personnel.

"It doesn't happen often, for which we're grateful, I don't know what goes through the mind of these people," he said.

"Those who have already lost family and friends don't need to see this lack of respect."