Harrogate service to commemorate fallen soldiers from Australia and New Zealand
Last updated Apr 14, 2023
Stonefall Cemetery
Stonefall Cemetery

A ceremony to honour service personnel from Australia and New Zealand who are buried at Stonefall Cemetery will be held next weekend.

The Anzac Day Ceremony will be hosted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on Sunday, April 23. The ceremony is to honour second world war casualties from the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Stonefall Cemetery has more than a thousand Commonwealth war graves. There are 97 Royal Australian Air Force and 23 Royal New Zealand Air Force servicemen buried at the site, the majority of whom died while bomber command bases were established across Yorkshire.

The event has been organised by Kate Spencer, who looks after the twinning between Harrogate and Wellington for Harrogate International Partnerships.

Kate said:

“As a New Zealander, our day of commemoration for those who fell in both World Wars is on April 25 each year. The history of Anzac Day stems from the landings of 16,000 Australian and New Zealand forces on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey, now referred to as Anzac Cove, on April 25, 1915. Together with allied forces, more than 100,000 lives were lost in that campaign.

“A year ago I organised our first Anzac Day commemoration and I feel so privileged to be preparing once again to honour not only my New Zealand countrymen buried in Stonefall, but also 97 Australians who gave their young lives in the service of their countries.”

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Harrogate has been twinned with the New Zealand capital of Wellington since 1953, with the New Zealand Garden that lies within Valley Gardens forming a tribute to those Kiwi airmen buried at Stonefall.

Kate, who in March this year presented gifts to the new Mayor of Wellington Tory Whanau, said:

“Not only the RNZAF but Wellington City Council are enormously grateful for everything being done to honour their men in this way. We look forward to welcoming you at the event and we are grateful to the CWGC for hosting the commemoration.”

The ceremony will see representation from both the Australian and New Zealand High Commission, as well as the Mayor and Mayoress of Harrogate and Andrew Jones MP. The music will be provided by Harrogate Band and a pupil from Harrogate Grammar School will sing the New Zealand national anthem in both Maori and English.

Members of the public are invited to attend the ceremony which will take place in the war graves plot adjacent to Forest Lane.

The public are invited to gather from 12.30pm. The ceremony will start at 1pm.

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