War Graves Week is coming to Harrogate

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) will be bringing War Graves Week to Harrogate and offering free tours at Stonefall Cemetery between May 25 and May 28.
War Graves Week is an initiative aimed at encouraging people from the local community to come together and discover the World War heritage on their doorstep – learning about the stories of those commemorated by the CWGC in Harrogate and the skills, dedication and expertise of those CWGC staff and volunteers who work to keep their memory alive.

The free guided tours will take place on different days and times between May 25 and May 28 at Stonefall Cemetery and will give people in Harrogate the chance to discover the remarkable stories of the men and women of the Commonwealth forces that died in the First and Second World Wars who are buried in their community. War Graves Week provides a unique chance for the people of Harrogate to reconnect with their local history.

More than 1 000 casualties from World War One and World War Two are commemorated at Stonefall Cemetery. Most burials at Stonefall Cemetery are airmen who died during the Second World War when bomber command bases were established across Yorkshire. They include men from across the Commonwealth, including the Canadian brothers Lloyd and Harold Hannah, killed within weeks of each other and now buried together in Harrogate. The tour will also include the story of a local woman who served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service and was sadly killed in the York Blitz.

On the tours, Harrogate residents will learn about the Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times project – the focus of this year’s War Graves Week. Alongside the front-line armed forces, the CWGC will be celebrating the value those who served during the World Wars brought to key sectors such as healthcare, logistics, infrastructure and communications. To learn more about specific stories of those who served, and the parallels with today’s global Britain which they helped to create, please click https://www.cwgc.org/war-graves-week/

The tours will be led by local CWGC volunteers and Elizabeth Smith CWGC Public Engagement Coordinator. Elizabeth Smith said:

We’re delighted that the CWGC’s War Graves Week will be taking place in Harrogate. For us at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, remembrance and the sharing and caring for World War heritage is a daily duty. Behind every name on a war grave or memorial in Harrogate is a human story waiting to be discovered and War Graves Week is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

I’d encourage everyone in Harrogate to join one of the tours to reconnect with their local history to learn about the courageous ordinary people from our community who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

The CWGC is encouraging the people of Harrogate to seek out the stories in their local area and book onto a free tour this War Graves Week. To book a tour, visit www.cwgc.org/tours

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