New flagpoles for county commemoration service

21 Apr 2017

An annual commemoration service for airmen from the other side of the world takes place in Northumberland this weekend.

And this year the county council has installed four permanent flag poles at Chevington Cemetery, replacing the temporary ones which have been put up in previous years.

Each year a service is held at the Cemetery to honour ten young men from Australia and New Zealand who lost their lives during the Second World War while serving in the Royal Air Force.

Most of the men were flying from wartime RAF stations at Acklington and Eshott. They were killed in aerial combat, in training and some on board a bomber aircraft which crashed in the Cheviot hills.

The annual ceremony, organised by the Newcastle Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association, will be held on Sunday (April 23) at 2pm and coincides with Anzac Day commemorations in Australia and New Zealand.

This year the new flagpoles will fly the flags of the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the RAF.

Paul Jones, Director of Local Services and Housing Delivery at Northumberland County Council, said: “Many people don’t realise the historical significance of Chevington Cemetery or the fact a special service is held each year.

“We were approached and asked to look at the possibility of installing flagpoles and were more than happy to oblige. The flags will be flown when services take place and really improve the overall look and feel of the war graves area. We also hope that they will raise the profile of the war graves and the bravery and sacrifice of the young men buried there.”

Sydney Graham, Ceremonial Officer with the Newcastle & Gateshead Branch of the RAF Association, said: “It is a great privilege for us to organise the annual ANZAC ceremony in honour of these brave young men who came so far and who sacrificed their lives
in the cause of freedom.

“The Newcastle Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association is extremely grateful to the County Council for installing these magnificent flagpoles which will greatly enhance the appearance of the war graves plot and add dignity to the ceremonies which we hold there.

“We are looking forward to Sunday’s' ceremony which we hope will be as successful as those we have organised in previous years.”