A BRITISH war hero’s gravestone lies in pieces, one of the forgotten victims of ISIS fanatics.
It is one of hundreds of resting places desecrated by the Islamist barbarians, who bulldozed the cemetery in Mosul, Iraq.
ISIS was driven from the country’s beleaguered second city last summer after three years of occupation — but the story of the smashed graves can only be told today.
Our exclusive pictures show the full horror of how the terror group reduced to rubble the graves of nearly 350 Allied soldiers from both world wars.
Of the 75 British World War Two troops buried there, only the cracked headstone of Serjeant WH “Hugh” Price, of 1st Battalion South Wales Borderers, remains readable.
Sjt Price died aged 31 on April 29, 1942, after suffering burns.
The rest of the Portland stone memorials beside his, which once gleamed white in the scorching sun, have been reduced to dust.
Ron Kinsalla, 58, whose grandfather Patrick is buried in Mosul said: “ISIS claim to be warriors, just like my grandad, so I can’t understand why they would destroy his grave. It’s the lowest of the low.”
Only six of the 191 World War One casualties laid to rest at the once neatly-tended plot were identified before they were buried.
Among them was Edwin North, a Gunner from Brighton whose headstone was also desecrated.
He was killed, aged 24, by a shell as the Royal Field Artillery advanced into Mosul — then the headquarters of the Turkish 6th army — on November 3, 1918, at the end of the little-known Mesopotamia campaign.
With vital oil supplies at stake, fighting between the German-backed Ottoman forces and the Allies was as intense in the city as on the Western Front in Europe.
To mark the deaths of Gnr North’s unidentified comrades, a 12ft Cross of Sacrifice, similar to village war memorials in the UK, was built.
Only its 2ft plinth remains visible among the rubble.
Defended key oil reserves
Pte Kinsalla joined his local regiment and served in the Middle East to protect oil supplies from the Germans.
The married father, who had a three-year-old son, died after breaking his neck when he jumped into a ravine.
He still conscious when he was pulled from the water but died on April 15, 1942, six days after his 29th birthday.
Patrick was buried in Mosul Cemetery and a chaplain from the Essex Regiment sent a photo of his grave to his widow Anne. After the war, the plain cross was replaced with a white military headstone.
Nine months later, Patrick’s little brother Laurence, who was a sapper in the Royal Engineers, died.
He was among 410 soldiers and sailors who drowned when the troopship Banalbanach was torpedoed and sunk by the Luftwaffe in the Mediterranean, off Algiers.
Two Hindu memorials marking the final resting places of scores of Indian soldiers who fought alongside the British have also been razed to the ground.
Among the World War Two casualties buried in the one-and-a-half-acre cemetery is Pte Patrick Kinsalla.
He served with the Essex Regiment in Syria and Egypt before being sent to Iraq to protect the oil region from the Nazis, who were advancing through North Africa.
Pte Kinsalla died, aged 29, after breaking his neck jumping into a ravine near Mosul. His headstone carried the inscription: “This is a spot in Iraq that is for ever England.”
Grandson Ron, a lorry driver from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, said: “My grandfather died out in Iraq defending what he thought was right.
“He was serving for what he believed in, just like these guys from ISIS claim to be doing now.
“I didn’t really think IS were going to look at the graveyards favourably, but it was still awful to learn they destroyed the cemetery where he is buried.”
Former policeman Gil Boyd, who runs Gravewatch, an organisation that monitors the graves of paratroopers, said: “I’m totally disgusted and upset that, yet again, British graves have been desecrated by these minority religious groups.”
Allied Forces intel master
Languages expert Hugh was attached to the intelligence corps because he was fluent in Arabic dialects.
He joined the Army in World War One, serving in India and Mesopotamia before returning to the UK in 1923.
In Iraq in 1921 Maj McNearnie, from Retford, Notts, worked for the High Commissioner, recruiting more than 5,000 local tribesmen to serve alongside Allied forces in the region.
When World War Two broke out in 1939, the father of two rejoined the North Staffs Regiment before being posted back to Iraq as assistant political adviser to British forces in the north of the country, under ambassador Sir Kinahan Cornwallis.
In 1942 he flew to Kirkuk for dental treatment before returning to Mosul, where he died during surgery for a jaw infection.
Last night the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), which looks after 1.7million graves of servicemen and women around the world, vowed to restore Mosul Cemetery to its former glory — but only when security can be guaranteed.
Since the first Gulf War in 1990, all British service personnel killed in Iraq have been repatriated to be buried in the UK.
But the CWGC, based in Maidenhead, Berks, has no plans to bring home the bodies of the more than 65,000 British and Allied servicemen from both world wars who are buried there.
A spokesman said: “We are under no illusions that the situation facing us in Iraq is challenging but there is hope and we are taking positive steps.
“It is our aim to increase our operational presence in Iraq as the security situation allows.
“At present all advice indicates the security situation in the north of the country and Mosul is too unstable to attempt work. However, the Commission would like to reassure you that we have not forgotten or abandoned the cemeteries in Iraq.
“As the situation permits, we will restore them to a standard befitting the sacrifice of those buried and commemorated there.”
In Libya in 2012, armed Islamist extremists caused worldwide outrage by kicking over dozens of British World War Two headstones — and using sledgehammers to break the cenotaph — in a cemetery in Benghazi.
FO Simmonds was living in Rhodesia – modern-day Zimbabwe – when World War Two broke out.
He joined the 237 Squadron RAF Volunteer Reserve and in a battle over North Africa destroyed an Italian bi-plane.
Soon after, Peter survived being shot down himself in eastern Sudan and fled the crash site on foot, eventually finding safety in Kassala.
Later he moved to Iraq, where he flew Hurricanes from RAF Mosul in operations supporting the 10th Army.
On April 14, 1942, the married pilot was asked to test a new Gladiator fighter.
During a loop the plane’s wing crumpled and folded back over the cockpit, giving FO Simmonds no chance of escaping by parachute and sending the aircraft into an uncontrollable spin.
He was killed on impact.
Today that cemetery has been fully restored.
At two sites in Yemen, destroyed headstones are earmarked for restoration as soon as fighting in the country eases.
But the damage inflicted in Libya and Yemen is minor compared with the total destruction of the cemetery in Mosul, Iraq’s second-biggest city.
Duncan Thomas, now the CWGC’s head of safety, was one of the last officials to visit the cemetery in 1990, just before the Gulf War started.
Duncan, 59, said: “It’s extremely sad to see beautiful structures and commemorations such as these desecrated. As soon as we are possibly able to do so we will go back in and put it right.
"Despite the destruction, the concrete beams that mark each headstone will still be there and we will be able to restore every single grave.”
On the right we tell the stories of some of the men buried there.
Destroyed Nazi supplies
Having destroyed two fuel tankers as he strafed the Luftwaffe base at Mosul, Flt Lt MacRobert dived for a second attack.
But he suddenly pulled up his Hawker Hurricane. Moments later it was lost from view, believed to have been shot down on May 21, 1941 – two weeks after Roderic’s 26th birthday.
Roderic, from Aberdeenshire, joined 6 Squadron in 1938, the same year his eldest brother died in a civilian flying accident. On Roderic’s death, the family’s baronetcy went to little brother Iain, also in the RAF. Just weeks later Iain was reported missing as part of a bomber crew who ditched into the North Sea. His body was never found
Left with no heir to her family’s fortune, Lady Rachel MacRobert donated £25,000 to the RAF to buy a bomber called MacRobert’s Reply.
She later paid for four Hurricanes.
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