Harrogate International Partnerships, kindly hosted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission held the very first ANZAC ceremony at Stonefall Cemetery on Sunday 24th April just as our friends on the other side of the world were gathering in preparation for the traditional 5am Dawn Parades on 25th April.

The ceremony started with the Parade of Harrogate Air Cadets bearing the flags of Australia and New Zealand. This was followed by The Airmen’s Hymn led by Tewit Band. Addresses by Commander Matthew Radford of the Royal Australian Navy and Sub Lieutenant Andrew Chisholm (in both English and Maori) of the Royal New Zealand Navy were interspersed with songs led by Harrogate Grammar School student Lucy Hargreaves, again in both English and Maori. Harrogate Grammar School has entered a twinning arrangement with Scots College in Wellington and another HGS student, Sam Featherstone, read Wilfred Owen’s ‘The Send Off’. Gareth Gibbs led the remembrance part of the ceremony during which Cllr Trevor Chapman, the Mayor of Harrogate, and civilian and military representatives laid wreaths. Before the national anthems were sung HIP representative Kate Spencer read out a message from Andy Foster, the Mayor of Wellington. At the end of the afternoon’s proceedings attendees were treated to ANZAC biscuits.

There are 97 Royal Australian Air Force and 23 Royal New Zealand Air Force servicemen buried at Stonefall, four of whom came from Wellington. They are Charles Agnew, Alfred Churchill Lockyer, Terence McKinley and John Matthew Stack.

Photographs by R.Pearce