NINE of 35 graves in the Nowra War Cemetery have been damaged by vandals.
Some time in the past week the vandals used a white marker pen to inscribe a swastika on the back of the marble headstones.
For Nowra RSL Sub-Branch secretary and former naval member Rick Meehan, who maintains the war cemetery, the vandalism was “unforgivable”.
“I could not believe it when I arrived at the cemetery on Tuesday for my weekly visit and saw this,” he said.
“I come up each week to give the area a clean and tidy, out of respect for the men who served their country and gave their lives in service.
“To see their graves desecrated like this was shocking.”
Swastikas were drawn onto the backs of nine headstones, while more were drawn on a gateway pillar leading into the Naval Cemetery.
It was also desecrated with the anti-Semitic comment “Die Jues” (sic).
“It is a sad indictment of our community that these men who served their country and gave us the freedom we enjoy today are treated like this,” Mr Meehan said.
All 35 personnel in the Nowra War Cemetery were killed during World War II.
“There are sailors, soldiers and airmen,” Mr Meehan said.
“All three services are represented. Most died during training exercises of one sort or another out of Nowra and Albatross.”
Their deaths span from 1941 to 1947. They age from 19 through to 35-years of age.
Mr Meehan has been looking after the cemetery for two years but said in the past two months the area seems to have been targeted.
“We have had syringes left in the gardens,” he said.
“We had a red sulo bin here for our rubbish and it started to be regularly filled with household rubbish, then about a month ago the whole bin, which was engraved with War Cemetery, was stolen.”
Mr Meehan said he would contact local funeral homes and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for advice on how to properly clean the marble without damaging the headstones
The vandalism has been reported to police.