Free guided tours at Stonefall Cemetery to mark International Women’s Day and Commonwealth Day

28 February 2024

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) will be offering free themed guided tours at Stonefall Cemetery next month to mark International Women’s Day and Commonwealth Day.

During the Second World War nearly 1,000 service personnel were buried at Stonefall Cemetery. Many of them came from across the Commonwealth and they include more than 600 Canadian and nearly 100 Australian service personnel alongside casualties from East Africa, the Caribbean, New Zealand and Fiji.

The guided tours for International Women’s Day on 8th March will put a spotlight on the six female casualties from the Second World War who are commemorated at Stonefall. They include local women who served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service and the Territorial Army Nursing Service. One of the women, Private Dorothy Thompson, was the first Harrogate woman to be killed in enemy action. She was just a month away from being married when she lost her life during the Great York Air Raid of 29 April 1942.

During the tours for Commonwealth Day on 11th March, the public will be able to learn more about the casualties from across the Commonwealth who are buried at Stonefall. These include Private Selemani Shabani who served with the African Pioneer Corps (East Africa) and is believed to have been taken as a Prisoner of War at the Fall of Tobruk in May 1942 as well as Flying Officer Ulric Leslie Look Yan, a fighter pilot from Trinidad.


Elizabeth Smith, Public Engagement Coordinator for the North East of England for the CWGC, said:

In the UK, the CWGC maintains 170,000 war graves of those who fought in the First and Second World War. Among these, the Air Force plot at Stonefall Cemetery stands as a solemn testament, its presence in the North of England echoing the fallen buried in Europe and around the world.

At Stonefall Cemetery, our themed guided tours offer a chance for locals to forge a personal connection with their past. These tours are a poignant reminder of the courage and resilience of those who served.

Such was the resonance of last year’s tours that spaces filled quickly. We strongly advise people to secure their place soon.


For those unable to join the guided tours, smartphone technology from Memory Anchor will enable people to go on walking tours of Stonefall Cemetery complete with biographies and photographs of those commemorated enabling them to engage with history in stunning augmented reality.


Director General of the CWGC, Claire Horton, said:

The new technology will help visitors see the stories behind the gravestones and memorials. It stands to transform the way visitors navigate and experience Stonefall Cemetery. Behind every name on a war grave or memorial is a human story waiting to be discovered and this new technology brings those stories to life.

The Memory Anchor app allows everyone to visit, commemorate and embrace their community’s history and legacy in a meaningful way. As world leaders in commemoration, our mission is to ensure those who died in service or as a result of conflict, are commemorated and remembered forever. This new technology offers a new way to do just that.


Bookings can be made via

For more information please contact: Elizabeth Smith on

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