The vandalism occurred late last week in the Albuera cemetery in Bailleul-Sir-Berthoult, near Lille. The graveyard's visitors' book was also torched, police said. No inscriptions were found.
"Two or three broken headstones, that unfortunately happens sometimes. But 42 -- that's never occurred. Everybody is shocked," said a spokesman for Britain's Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Christopher Farrell.
France's war veterans minister, Hamlaoui Mekachera, issued a statement expressing his "outrage" at the "barbarous and shocking" acts and called for an investigation to find those responsible.
The military cemetery, which contains 252 tombs, is one of 1,500 in France, where more than 400,000 soldiers from Britain and its former colonies are buried.
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Edited by Tommy, 02 August 2005 - 08:16 PM.