Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery

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Harrogate (Stonefall)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Harrogate (Stonefall) Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery entrance stone
Used for those deceased 1943–1947
Location53°59′10″N 1°29′42″W / 53.9862°N 1.4950°W / 53.9862; -1.4950
Total burials1,017 (including special memorials)
Burials by war
Statistics source: Cemetery details. Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetery is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) burial ground for the dead of the First World War and Second World War located on the outskirts of Harrogate in North Yorkshire, England.

The cemetery grounds are located next to the main municipal cemetery and crematorium for the district,[1] in Wetherby Road.


This area of Yorkshire had many RAF bases during the Second World War. In particular, No 6 RCAF Bomber Group had headquarters at Allerton Park in nearby Knaresborough.[2]

An area of the municipal cemetery was set aside for use as a war cemetery at the start of the war and received burials, mostly from after July 1943, mostly airmen, mostly Canadians, until after the end of the war.[2] Burials are from northern airfields and the military wing of the now demolished Harrogate General Hospital in Starbeck.[2]

Within the cemetery, there are burials of or special memorials to 23 First World War troops which are dispersed across the municipal part of the cemetery.[2]

Notable graves[edit]

Cross of Sacrifice, Harrogate Military Cemetery

Many of the burials are from aircrews killed in training or on the ground or who died later in the local hospital. Amongst the burials in the cemetery are three (all Canadians) of the seven crew of a Lancaster bomber that crashed on Helmsley Moor on the morning of 17 May 1944.[3] Five burials (all serving in the RCAF, but two were from the United States) in adjoining plots are of the crew of Halifax bomber EB203, which crashed into a railway bridge in Bishop Monkton on 15 April 1944.[4] Also buried here is Brian Sinclair, the inspiration for the character of Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small.[5]

Crash of Wellington BK387[edit]

Wellington BK387 crashed near Oakworth, Yorkshire on the night of 2 January 1944. The main force of Bomber Command was out in strength that night and 383 aircraft were on their way to Berlin. The Operational Training Unit (O.T.U.) was based at Ossington eight miles north-west of Newark and it was from bases like these, flying the Vickers Wellington, that all operational crew passed through on their way to squadron service.

At 20.00 hours, Wellington BK387 lifted off from the Ossington runway on what should have been just another training flight of four hours duration. The pilot, Warrant Officer Ernest Glass, brought the aircraft down through low cloud and subsequently crashed into the hillside at Tewitt Hall wood. Six young people died in an instant. The crew of BK387 were all from Canada. If they had completed their training they would have joined one of the 16 Canadian Bomber Squadrons in Yorkshire. The remains of the aircraft were cleared away and little remains today at the site of the crash except for the burnt and broken trees. The crew were all buried at Stonefall Cemetery along with many of their fellow countrymen. All are buried on section C, row H, graves 11 to 16.[6]

The cause of this crash is unclear. The Canadian crewed Wellington BK387 was on a night training exercise when the aircraft descended through cloud and crashed into farmland. One witness account suggests Warrant Officer Glass was trying to land the plane in the fields. This same account quotes the landlord of the nearby Grouse Inn, who says he had gone to his outside toilet and, with the door open (after all the customers had gone home for the night...) "he sat there frightened out of his skin as he could see the plane heading straight for his loo". The Wellington crashed just beyond the pub.[7]

The crew of BK387 were:

  • Warrant Officer E. I. Glass (Pilot)[8]
  • Flying Officer J. J. McHenry (Navigator)
  • Warrant Officer J. E. Dalling, (Bomb Aimer)
  • Warrant Officer J. Henfrey (Wireless Operator)
  • Sergeant E. Savage (Air Gunner)
  • Sergeant N. W. Crawford (Air Gunner)[6]

Special memorials[edit]

A special memorial commemorates six First World War troops whose graves are in local churchyards around Yorkshire and cannot be maintained by the commission.[2] The actual grave of one of those commemorated, Edgar Audsley, has since been destroyed as part of development works on the site of South Ossett Baptist Burial Ground.[9]

A plaque in the cemetery records the names of 12 servicemen of the Second World War who were cremated at Harrogate Crematorium.[10]


  1. ^ Commonwealth War Graves Commission The Work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in the United Kingdom leaflet ISA22, p2, published May 2005, accessed 12 January 2008
  2. ^ a b c d e Commonwealth War Graves Commission, accessed 12 January 2008
  3. ^ Allenby.info, accessed 12 January 2008
  4. ^ Allenby.info: EB203, accessed 12 January 2007
  5. ^ "Announcements and Personal". The Times. No. 63256. London. 15 December 1988. p. 19. ISSN 0140-0460. Gale IF0501752935.
  6. ^ a b "Personal accounts of the fateful day, January 2nd 1944". Archived from the original on 14 April 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
  7. ^ "Wellington BK387, near Oakworth, Yorkshire". aircrashsites.co.uk. 27 September 2009. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Glass, Ernest Israel". CWGC. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  9. ^ The Campaign for War Grave Commemorations, accessed 12 January 2007
  10. ^ WW1Cemeteries.com Archived 13 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 12 January 2008

External links[edit]