London city hall: Cenotaph repairs finish with embarrassing historical error etched in stone

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Spelling Afghanistan correctly was the worry.

The dates weren’t so much a concern.

But the dates of the Afghanistan mission turned up wrong on London’s renovated cenotaph in Victoria Park.

Instead of 2001 to 2014, the dates read 2010 to 2014.

City officials realized the mistake last week when doing a check with the contractor and design team on the $475,200 fix of the 83-year-old monument, said Tim Wellhauser, facilities manager with the city.

“It is one of those things,” he said. “We’re hoping to have it corrected next week.”

Somehow the original design, with the correct date, contained transposed figures by the time it reached the artisan carving the monument rock, Wellhauser said.

“The guy chipping the stone did exactly what he was told.”

Wellhauser can smile, a bit, about the snafu. The team was so worried about spelling Afghanistan correctly in stone, and then this happened, he says.

But he’s serious about the commitment to correcting the mistake by a re-dedication ceremony planned for Sept. 17.

“It’s a bit of a black eye we want to get fixed.”

The design company is paying for the new stone with the correct dates, he said.

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