Military veterans are devastated by the damage done by vandals to Tommy figures in a public park just before Remembrance Sunday.  

Members of the Royal British Legion found the metal sculptures in their memorial garden in John Coles Park, Chippenham had been attacked. One was beheaded.

It is thought the figures – which commemorate the hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women who died in two world wars – were damaged on Remembrance Day.

A Chippenham Town Council spokesperson said: “The incident has been reported to Wiltshire Police and the Chippenham branch of the Royal British Legion.

“We are currently exploring the options for replacement figures.”

But Irene Sinclair, 81, the Chippenham RBL chairman, said: “I am just devastated by what has happened. It’s just unbelievable. I don’t know what they hoped to gain by it.

“We have told the cadets and the scouts and they are just devastated. It must have been someone strong because they have beheaded one of the figures.”

The Tommy sculptures depict a First World War soldier in silhouette and have become an increasingly popular way of commemorating those who died in both world wars.

Mrs Sinclair said the figures had been donated to the RBL garden in May and would cost several hundred pounds to replace.

She only found out they had been damaged after the Remembrance Sunday service at St Andrew’s Church in Chippenham.

She said: “I was walking down the street and saw a woman pushing a man in a wheelchair and she asked if I was the RBL poppy seller.

“I was told that he was a former Dunkirk Veteran aged 98. When he was told about the damage to the Tommy figures, the tears were streaming down his face.

“It’s so sad. The people who have done this probably don’t realise what they have done. The veteran simply said that he’d like to have a word with them.”

Mrs Sinclair added: “We are hoping that someone will find out who these people are and will tell the police.

“I’d like them to speak to the veterans and see what they say but I don’t know if we could convince them. Everybody with military connections is just horrified by what they have done.”