THE Neilston War Memorial Association (NWMA) has condemned callous vandals who snapped a row of commemorative trees in Kingston Park.

A total of nine Norwegian birch trees have been damaged out of 27 which were planted last year to remember the 27 Americans of the SS Henry Bacon – the last Allied ship sunk by the Luftwaffe in World War Two.

The Americans sacrificed their lives to allow 19 Norwegian civilians to be rescued and eventually delivered to safety in Neilston.

The vandalism is particularly sad as it has happened just before the anniversary of the sinking, which took place on February 23, 1945.

Matt Drennan, of NWMA, told the Barrhead News: “Two were snapped last week and we thought, because of the snow, it might have just been accidental damage but then seven more were snapped in a straight line on Sunday about 6pm.

Barrhead News:

“It’s really sad that somebody thinks this is acceptable. They were probably showing off in front of their friends, not realising how much hurt they are causing to other people.

“The boys that died were probably only a few years older than some of them.”

Matt, however, does not believe the actions are representative of young people in Neilston and has urged those who did it to come forward.

A Gofundme page to raise cash to replace the trees has since been created, which has been strongly supported.

Matt added: “It is not the real face of Neilston. We get on great with local kids due to the work we do with them. They have been down the main war memorial helping us with the gardens and planting flowers.

“We have had a great response to our appeal online and Iain Forsyth has started a campaign to raise funds. We have also had an anonymous donation of £1,000 from a local businessman who has supported us in the past. Other businesses have also been putting in donations.”

Police have confirmed they attended the park after receiving a call from a member of the public on Monday and enquiries are continuing.

Inspector Stevie Scott, of Giffnock Police Office, said: “If anyone has any information, contact us on 101. If they want to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

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