To finish the inaugural War Graves Week, the CWGC’s main events are ending in the North of England at Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery. The two Public Engagement Coordinators for the CWGC in the North of England are Liz Marsland and Elizabeth Smith.
Liz is the Public Engagement Coordinator for the North West of England, which covers Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, the Isle of Man, and Greater Manchester. Liz’s interest in history started at an early age, and she has been fortunate to be able to combine her interests with her professional career. Her professional background lies in heritage education and was first introduced to the CWGC on a personal level while researching her family history. After discovering missing relatives on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium, she and her family were able to visit the memorial and witness the moving Last Post Ceremony.
Liz has lived in the North West all her life and has a strong connection with this region. She said that “it makes me happy to know that my work for the Commission will help keep the stories of these casualties alive.”
Elizabeth is the Public Engagement Coordinator for the North East, which covers Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham, Yorkshire, and Humberside. Elizabeth joined the Commission in March 2018 and has been working hard to promote the hundreds of cemeteries and memorials across the North of England to the public. One of her biggest achievements has been researching and writing a tour of the war graves at Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery; through this, she has been able to get in contact with relatives of some of the casualties remembered there. In 2019, she hosted more than 500 local primary school pupils at the site and gave tours to the general public.
Speaking of her work researching the casualties at Stonefall, she says “I feel a connection to all those casualties I research. There is nothing that makes me prouder than knowing that I am helping to keep the stories of our casualties alive.”
Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery
Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery was begun in 1914, but the vast majority of the burials here are of airmen who died during the Second World War when Bomber Command bases were established across Yorkshire. Today, nearly 1,000 servicemen and women lie at rest in the war graves plot within the cemetery.
Harrogate itself was an important administration, training, medical and logistics base during the Second World War. For much of the war, 4 and 6 Groups of Bomber Command were based in Yorkshire and many of the 1000 servicemen and women buried in Stonefall today served with these formations. In addition to the members of the Commonwealth who are buried here, there are German and Russian casualties.
One of the women remembered at Harrogate (Stonefall Cemetery) is Leading Aircraftwoman Elsie Caroline Lambert. She was the daughter of James and Clara Woodhams and was married to Keith Aubrey Lambert at the time of her death in January 1944. Her Personal Inscription mentions those who mourned her loss; it says “TO THE MEMORY OF OUR DEAR SISTER, ALSO FROM SON GERALD. SLEEP ON MY DARLING.”