Benghazi Grave Desecration March 2012

4 October 2013 Update.  Good News!


Steve Rowan has received the following email from the Office of Australian War Graves regarding progress in restoring the gravestone of Pte Kelvin Croker QX7529. For more about him, see this poem.


Fri, 4 Oct 2013 09:52:14 +1000


Headstone for PTE Kelvin Croker - Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya[DLM=For-Official-Use-Only]
Good Morning Mr Rowan, 

Please find attached the photograph of the new headstone for Private
Kelvin Croker in the Benghazi War Cemetery, plus a general view of the

Kind Regards
Jenna Lobb
Overseas Project Officer

 Thank you to the government for sorting this issue out.

Grave of QX7529 Kelvin Croker

Benghazi War Cemetery




15 November 2012 - Update



The Australian newspaper has today reported on: "The desecration of dozens of graves at Commonwealth War Cemeteries in Libya.

Gordon Wallace was interviewed for the article and expressed his worry about the graves of his mates and of other fallen diggers buried there.  He is quoted extensively in the scanned story.

 See ABC Online story here.


The Australian Government list contains the names of those whose graves were desecrated.  They include the following member of the 2/15th Battalion:

Private Kelvin CROKER QX7529 KIA Mersa Brega 12 Mar 1941. Aged 21.



The online article from The Australian" of 5 March 2012 is as follows:


THE Libyan Embassy has apologised for the desecration by armed Islamist militia of Commonwealth War cemeteries in Benghazi and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice, Acting Foreign Minister Minister Craig Emerson said today.

The Federal government "condemned in the strongest possible terms'' last week's attack on two war cemeteries that left dozens of headstones smashed or damaged, Dr Emerson told reporters.

The government was trying to determine whether any Australian graves were among those desecrated.

The matter had been raised with the Libyan Ambassador Musbah Allafi who shared the government's outrage at the desecration, Dr Emerson said.

"The ambassador advised me that authorities had detained some young people and an investigation is fully underway and obviously the government of Libya will assist doing any repair work,'' he said.

The incident, allegedly a revenge by Libyan extremists for the Koran burning in Afghanistan by US soldiers, was broadcast on YouTube, sparking international outrage by war veterans.

Outrage at the attacks has been accentuated because of strong support by the Australian, British, French and Italian Governments to anti-Gaddafi rebels in their efforts to oust the Libyan dictator.The Benghazi War Cemetery, which contains more than 1100 graves, 48 of them Australian, and the British Military Cemetery were attacked with headstones broken and disfigured.

More than 1200 British Commonwealth troops who died in the north African desert battles of World War II are buried there.

Dr Emerson's own father fought in Libya.

"He was captured as a result of a battle and spent four years in a prisoner of war camp,'' he said.

"So I know what he would think if he were alive about any mates of his, of any nationality, who had their war graves desecrated.''

About a quarter of the headstones in the nearby Benghazi British Military Cemetery, which does not contain World War II graves, were also damaged.

Video footage of the attacks shows a mob smashing up headstones and a cross of sacrifice and saying the words: "They are dogs.''

Dr Emerson said he had spoken with Libya's ambassador to Australia about the incidents.

"He shares the outrage,'' Dr Emerson said.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has promised to restore the graves.

"Both cemeteries will be restored to a standard befitting the sacrifice of those commemorated at Benghazi but this could take some time because we will need to source replacement stones,'' the intergovernmental body said.

Security has been boosted at both cemeteries.

Western forces last year helped Benghazi-based rebels oust dictator Muammar Gaddafi from power after he launched an all-out assault on anti-government protests.



 Other stories.