Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery
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War Graves week arrives in Harrogate

War Graves Week is a new initiative aimed at encouraging communities to come together and discover the World War heritage on their doorstep – learning about the stories of those commemorated by CWGC in the UK and the skills, dedication and expertise of those CWGC staff who work to keep their memory alive


Today the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) brought its first ever national awareness week to Harrogate, North Yorkshire with a special socially distanced event at Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery.

War Graves Week is a new initiative aimed at encouraging communities to come together and discover the World War heritage on their doorstep – learning about the stories of those commemorated by CWGC in the UK and the skills, dedication and expertise of those CWGC staff who work to keep their memory alive.

 

Elizabeth Smith, Public Engagement for the CWGC was joined by a number of distinguished guests including; Mrs Johanna Ropner, the Lord-Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Councillor Trevor Chapman and Mrs Janet Chapman, the Mayor and Mayoress of Harrogate, Andrew Jones MP and Lieutenant Colonel Simon Farebrother MC, Commanding Officer of the Army Foundation College to share some of the fascinating stories of the men and women whose stories live on in Harrogate.

With over 1,000 Commonwealth war graves, Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery is one of the largest CWGC sites in the North of England. The 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 17-year-old Canadian Sergeant Joseph Pollon who died on this day in 1944 and is now buried along with the Canadian members of his crew at Harrogate.

Throughout War Graves Week, events and activities are being held up and down the country to raise awareness about war graves in the UK. 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.

Although the war graves and memorials that bear the names of the fallen can be found in almost every town and city across the country, few people are aware that the stories of those who fell in the World Wars live on in their local communities.

To coincide with War Graves Week CWGC launched a special postcode search function for its online war dead database at www.cwgc.org/wargravesweek

 

The new postcode search contains the records of more than 400,000 World War personnel, whose CWGC war dead record includes a publicly listed address. Entering a postcode reveals the nearest street in which a war casualty was from – presenting an opportunity for people of all ages to welcome the memory of these men and women back to the streets where they lived.

Claire Horton CBE, Director General of the CWGC, said:

We are delighted to be launching our first ever War Graves Week at Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery. For us at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, remembrance and the sharing and caring for World War heritage is a daily duty.

We wanted to take a chance to help people to see that work in action and make a local discovery. Many people already know about their family’s links to the World Wars, but all of us have somewhere we call home today, and those places have their own stories too.

 

Claire Horton CBE, Director General of the CWGC, said:

By simply entering your postcode on our website you can take the first step towards making a new connection. We want people to share the stories they find and download a tribute for the men and women from their communities and display it in their window for War Graves Week.

Behind every name on a war grave or memorial is a human story waiting to be discovered and War Graves Week is the perfect opportunity to do just that

 

Mrs Johanna Ropner, the Lord-Lieutenant of North Yorkshire said:

I was pleased to attend today’s War Graves Week event at Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery. We owe so much to the generations that came before us and what better way to pay tribute than to keep their stories alive in our own community. I would encourage everyone to find out more about the men and women commemorated by CWGC here at Stonefall and indeed around the world.


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