Fusilier James Clifford (6978753) served in 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers during World War Two. He was the son of John Clifford and Margaret Clifford of Belfast, Co. Antrim.
James’ wife Maria Carmela Clifford was from Gzira, Malta and therefore a holder of the George Cross. The couple had a young son together.
James Clifford died on 14th December 1945 aged 28 years old. His grave is in Section A, Row LG, Grave 44 of Milltown Cemetery, Belfast, Co. Antrim. His headstone bears the inscription:
My darling, forever remembered by your loving wife and son. RIP.
On 7th December 2018, the Police Service Northern Ireland released images of Fusilier Clifford’s headstone with ‘IRA’ daubed in red paint. The Belfast Telegraph reports the incident will be investigated as a hate crime.
Cemeteries are resting places for people from all walks of life and should be treated with reverence, respect and dignity. Local people from West Belfast spend considerable time and effort in these cemeteries, improving them for the community as a whole, and educating people from far and wide about the rich history and diversity found within them. Perhaps whoever did this should join one of these tours, you never know you may learn something… hopefully respect at least.
PSNI West Belfast Spokesperson.