Vandals spray graffiti on graves at British World War Two cemetery in the Netherlands

A police officer walks past graves which have been vandalised with graffiti, and a large swastika was daubed on the inner wall of the chapel in the British World War II Commonwealth Graves cemetery in Mierlo, east of Eindhoven, Netherlands, on September 13, 2019. (Photo by Rob Engelaar / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT        (Photo credit should read ROB ENGELAAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Vandals have spray-painted graffiti onto hundreds of graves at a Commonwealth World War Two cemetery, where 664 British soldiers and one Dutch soldier are buried.

A large swastika along with random letters and words were daubed onto headstones at the Mierlo cemetery in Eindhoven in the southern Netherlands.

The graffiti included "MH17 lie" - a reference to the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine in July 2014, which killed 298 people, of whom 193 were Dutch.

A police officer walks past graves which have been vandalised with graffiti, and a large swastika was daubed on the inner wall of the chapel in the British World War II Commonwealth Graves cemetery in Mierlo, east of Eindhoven, Netherlands, on September 13, 2019. (Photo by Rob Engelaar / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT        (Photo credit should read ROB ENGELAAR/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on September 13, 2019 shows a large swastika was daubed on the inner wall of the chapel in the British World War II Commonwealth Graves cemetery in Mierlo, east of Eindhoven, Netherlands, on September 13, 2019. (Photo by Rob Engelaar / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT        (Photo credit should read ROB ENGELAAR/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer walks past graves which have been vandalised with graffiti, and a large swastika was daubed on the inner wall of the chapel in the British World War II Commonwealth Graves cemetery in Mierlo, east of Eindhoven, Netherlands, on September 13, 2019. (Photo by Rob Engelaar / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT        (Photo credit should read ROB ENGELAAR/AFP/Getty Images)

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) said it was "appalled" by the vandalism.

"It is distressing to see the damage on the headstones themselves, behind every one of those war graves is a human story of someone who gave their life while in service."

A local woman was shocked and tearful, saying her parents had been helping to look after the Mierlo cemetery for years.

"My heart is crying. Here are 17- and 18-year-old boys buried, who liberated us."

Dutch police have tweeted an appeal urging anyone who has any information to come forward.

Mierlo War Cemetery

The Mierlo War Cemetery is the final resting place of 664 Commonwealth soldiers and one Dutch soldier from World War Two.

Later this month Prince Charles will attend a Dutch commemoration of the 1944 Battle of Arnhem for the 75th anniversary of the Allies' liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation.

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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