War graves are rededicated

A service was held last Tuesday to rededicate the war graves in Cranwell churchyard.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has been behind the renovation of numerous MOD burials in the last year. EMN-210112-165951001
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has been behind the renovation of numerous MOD burials in the last year. EMN-210112-165951001

The event marked the completion of work within the grounds of St Andrew’s Church after the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust provided the Commonwealth War Graves Commission with a grant to renovate graves across the United Kingdom.

With long links to RAF Cranwell, many serving and former members of the RAF and civilians employed at the station are buried in the east side of the graveyard, with others dating back to the First World War are found elsewhere in the churchyard.

Priest in Charge, Rev Al Jenkins said work got under way in the spring of this year.

Rev Al Jenkins, Padre David Norfield and Rev Philip Johnson at the ceremony in Cranwell churchyard. EMN-210112-170002001

A short service of remembrance was held with veterans and families present, as well as the team from the CWGC and a contingent of cadets from RAF Cranwell. It was led by Bishop Dr Nigel Peyton with contributions and readings by Rev Jenkins, Padre David Norfield and Rural Dean Philip Johnson.

Rev Jenkins said it was an act of remembrance and rededication: “Not just for the gravestones but also to rededicate ourselves to peace and justice in the world.”

Area director for the CWGC, James King, was also present at the event. He said: “It is about bringing this plot up to the standard it deserves and it is a real pleasure to do that work for the families of those buried here.”

As well as the two world wars, he said they were working with the MOD using the CWGC team’s skills to preserve more recent burials too, using LIBOR funding. They are working on 12 cemeteries from Pembroke Dock in West Wales to Sandhurst and Portland. The Commission will continue to maintain these cemeteries on a regular basis.

The Last Post is sounded as people remembered those buried in the churchyard. EMN-210112-170013001

At Cranwell, he said, 120 headstones were lifted and realigned, the ground was re-levelled and turfed, with standard width borders created along with planting schemes specific for the soil type. There were some deeper borders too and they have used a variety of roses called Remember Me that were specially bred for the Not Forgotten Association for limbless veterans. Thousands of bulbs have also been planted for the spring.

The renovated graves as people gather around the memorial for the culmination of the service. EMN-210112-170035001
An Air Cadet lays a wreath at the memorial in Cranwell churchyard. EMN-210112-170045001
Padre David Norfield, Rev Philip Johnson and Bishop Nigel Peyton. EMN-210112-170056001
The rededication service at Cranwell churchyard, surrounded by the refurbished war graves. EMN-210112-165940001