- The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is appealing for the public to learn about their local war graves this year for remembrance.
- There are more than 43,000 war dead commemorated in the north of England alone and behind every single name is a human story worth connecting with.
- CWGC’s new digital resources Our War Graves, Your History make it easier than ever to explore your local World War history online and in person: www.cwgc.org/exploreGB
Harrogate residents are being encouraged to go local this year as we approach a Remembrance Sunday like no other. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is giving the public the tools to discover the World War heritage on their doorstep this autumn, at a time when many larger events have been cancelled.
There are more than 43,000 war dead commemorated at more than 2,000 sites in the north of England and CWGC is making it easier than ever to discover your local World War heritage with a series of digital resources. Our War Graves, Your History includes local stories, downloadable walking tours and tips on how to understand the history in your hometown.
You can also meet the local team tasked with maintaining war graves in your area. They include Stephen Liversage, CWGC’s regional manager for the north. After following in his father’s footsteps Stephen has worked for the Commission for 38 years, and he now leads the team responsible for war graves in the north of England.
The sites they maintain vary from 1,000 war graves Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery to scores of churchyards and burial grounds that contain just a few war graves, often spotted by the green Commonwealth War Graves signs at their entrance.
Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery was created in 1914, but many burials are airmen who died during the Second World War when bomber command bases were established across Yorkshire. They include men and women from across the Commonwealth, including the Canadian brothers Lloyd and Harold Hannah, killed within weeks of each other and now buried together in Harrogate. Their story, and many more can be explored using the free downloadable tour at www.cwgc.org/exploreGB
Barry Murphy, CWGC’s Director General, said:
This year has been like no other, and sadly this will have an impact on the usual traditions around Remembrance Sunday. The British public has already shown this year that with the smallest of gestures we can still find a way to thank the bravest among us.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission cares for war graves at more than 12,500 locations in the UK, and this means at a time when many of us are staying in our local areas, there is a still a way for us all to connect to our local World War heritage.
We’re encouraging people to seek out the stories in their local area, using the new Our War Graves, Your History digital resources. By visiting www.cwgc.org/exploreGB you can read about the World War heritage in your nearest CWGC sites, download self-guided tours and find the tools to plan a visit and pay your own personal pilgrimage to a war grave.
Anyone wishing to visit a war grave this autumn is reminded to check local guidelines in their area and adhere to social distancing throughout.
In the UK alone there are more than 12,500 war grave sites maintained by CWGC, and every single one contains a human story worth connecting with. To find the war graves closest to where you live, and learn some of the fascinating stories behind the World War heritage in your hometown, visit: www.cwgc.org/exploreGB