A metal plaque memorializing the lives of airmen lost in 20th Century wars, was pried off of its decorative base and is missing from Red Deer City Hall Park. (Contributed photo)

A metal plaque memorializing the lives of airmen lost in 20th Century wars, was pried off of its decorative base and is missing from Red Deer City Hall Park. (Contributed photo)

Memorial to lost aviators was stolen from Red Deer City Hall Park

Al Low said he was “aghast” to discover the vandalism and theft

A metal memorial plaque for aviators who lost their lives in two world wars has gone missing from Red Deer City Hall Park.

It’s beyond disrespectful that someone purposely pried it off, said Al Low, president of the Central Alberta Wing Royal Canadian Air Force Association.

“It’s disheartening. It’s misguided…. Obviously the person doesn’t know or care about history — or have anyone in his life that’s connected to the military,” he added.

The plaque commemorating airmen’s lives sacrificed in the First and Second World War, as well as the Korean War, was erected in the park in 1967 during Canada’s Centennial.

Low believes these kinds of memorial markers are very important going forward because soon no survivors from these conflicts will be left. “Memories are pretty short… I am forever going to funerals these days,” he added.

The metal memorial had been bolted and glued, so Low thinks the thief or thieves went to great lengths to remove it from the decorative base that also holds an embedded airplane propeller.

The brass plaque was located in a unobtrusive part of the City Hall Park, facing the perimeter hedge. Low only noticed it was missing on Monday while admiring the park’s flower gardens with his wife.

“I was aghast. I called my wife over and said, ‘Look at this!”

After reporting the loss of the plaque to the RCMP, Low said the officer made inquiries and discovered it had been gone “for some time.”

Bobby-Jo Stannard said the plaque was first noticed to be missing in May. As it was located in City Hall Park, it is effectively owned by the City of Red Deer.

As other plaques have also gone missing from city parks and benches, Stannard said a process was started to research other materials with which to replace them. Brass seems more attractive to thieves than a material such as aluminium, for example, which is a consideration in replacing the plaques, she added.

According to Low, the plaque contained 215 letters as well as a crest. He doesn’t think Wings will be able to afford a new plaque without a fundraiser. But Stannard said the city will be playing for its replacement and the group will not be on the hook for the cost.

Many plaques and metal memorial markers were reported stolen from benches and picnic tables in Red Deer since 2019.

Since late 2020, all Alberta scrap dealers have had to report transactions involving common forms of metal and make payments for these transactions only with traceable forms of currency.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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