Historic 'Holy Roller' tank in Victoria Park vandalized
Sean Irvine, CTV London
Published Friday, May 17, 2019 2:10PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, May 19, 2019 1:18PM EDT
CTV News has learned of a crime many - including retired lieutenant-colonel Joe Murray of the 1st Hussars - would dub the lowest of the lows.
The familiar Sherman 'Holy Roller' tank in Victoria Park has been broken into, vandalized and damaged, likely earlier this week.
"It is very disrespectful, what they've done. They did a lot of damage to the back of it, and now we have to repair it," Murray tells CTV News.
The 'Holy Roller' is one of just two tanks in the Canadian Army that fought from the D-Day landings until Victory in Europe Day on May 8, 1945.
It now serves as monument to the fallen, and has been a focal point in Victoria Park since it was placed there in 1956.
Murray says London police notified them of the break-in on Wednesday.
He says the thieves clearly had a plan, and went to great length to get inside the vintage tank, at its back end.
"They had to have maybe a pry bar and a sledgehammer to peel it all back and get in. I'm not sure if they were looking for souvenirs, or metal, but it is very disrespectful what they have done."
Thankfully, the 'Holy Roller' will not sit damaged for long. It is currently being guarded, and on Tuesday morning, volunteers will step-up to weld a new plate to secure it again for generations.
It's a good thing, as the 75th Anniversary of D-Day is June 6.
In London, the day's events will include a public parade featuring all of the vehicles driven by the 1st Hussars over its history.
It will begin at 10:30 a.m., and be followed by a service at the 'Holy Roller' tank.