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Home   Maidstone   News   Article

Shepway pensioner Len Carey condemns yobs who destroyed Union flag flown in memory of First World War veteran father

28 January 2014
by Alan Smith

A disabled pensioner has told how yobs have repeatedly stolen or burnt a Union flag he flies in memory of his soldier father.

Patriotic Len Carey either flies the Union flag or the Cross of St George from a flagpole outside his home on a Maidstone housing estate.

But he has woken up at least five times to find it has been either taken by thieves or burnt to ashes on his lawn.

Maidstone man Len Carey flies the flag for his father

Maidstone man Len Carey flies the flag for his father

On the last occasion, yobs did not just steal the flag - but also snapped off the top 6ft of the mast.

Mr Carey, of Suffolk Road, Shepway, said: "Before I've just put it down to kids and shrugged it off, but this time it's gone too far and I've reported it to the police.

"I fly the flag in memory of my father, Frederick Carey, who served with the Royal West Kents in the First World War.

"He was just 17 when he enlisted. He fought at Ypres and was gassed at Hill 60. While he was carried back to the field hospital a shell exploded close by and he was hit by the shrapnel.

"He lived until 1972, but he suffered all his life."

Pte Frederick Carey, 17, in the uniform of the Royal West Kents

Pte Frederick Carey, 17, in the uniform of the Royal West Kents

A tearful Mr Carey, who suffers from a weak heart and sometimes has to use a mobility scooter, told how he made a recent pilgrimage to the battlefield where his father had been wounded.

What do you think? Join the debate by adding your comments belowHe said: "He used to tell me stories, but I'm ashamed to say that as a youngster I sometimes thought he was telling me tall tales.

"Particularly when he said that under a gas attack, they had to pee on a rag and hold it to their faces.

"It wasn't till I visited for myself and the guide told me the same story, I realised he had been telling the truth.

"It's terrible - the things he and his comrades suffered for their country - and then some yobs destroy the flag in this, the centenary year of the war."

Like his father, Mr Carey will not give up easily. He has already repaired the flagpole and is now flying a new flag.

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