To mark International Women’s Day and Commonwealth Day, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) will be offering free themed guided tours at Stonefall Cemetery in March.
During the Second World War almost 1,000 service personnel were buried at Stonefall Cemetery. Many of them came from across the Commonwealth and they include over 600 Canadian and almost 100 Australian service personnel alongside casualties from East Africa, the Caribbean, New Zealand and Fiji.
The guided tours for International Women’s Day (5th, 6th and 8th March) will put a spotlight on the six female casualties commemorated at Stonefall. They include local women who served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service and the Territorial Army Nursing Service. One of the women, Sister Florrie Prest from Bilton, served at Dunkirk and in Africa and also on hospital ships in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.
During the tours for Commonwealth Day (12th – 14th March) the public will be able to learn more about the casualties from across the Commonwealth who are buried at Stonefall. These include two brothers serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force who died just a few months apart as well as a descendent of the last King of Fiji. The tours are an integral part of the CWGC Ordinary People Extraordinary Times Around The World campaign.
Elizabeth Smith, Public Engagement Coordinator for the North East of England, said:
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission cares for 170 000 war graves from both World Wars at more than 12,500 locations in the United Kingdom. The Air Force plot at Stonefall Cemetery is unique in the North of England due to its size and resemblance to our sites overseas. The themed guided tours at Stonefall Cemetery will give local people a chance to reconnect with their history, to learn about the work of the CWGC, and discover the remarkable stories of the men and women who are buried in their community.
The free themed guided tours will take place between Saturday 5th and Monday 14th March. Bookings can be made via https://www.cwgc.org/our-war-graves-your-history/what-s-happening-near-you/