Renovation scheme for war graves

WAR GRAVES at Sleepyhillock Cemetery will be renovated this week by staff from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).

The cemetery has more than 130 graves of servicemen from both world wars and CWGC staff, with help from Angus Council, will be carrying out work on herbaceous borders and turfed areas.

Montrose played an important part in guarding Britain’s shores during the First and Second World Wars and its strategic importance was identified at an early stage by the War Office, which established the UK’s first operational air station on the outskirts of the town in 1913.

Most of the casualties buried at Sleepyhillock served in the air forces, both British and Commonwealth, but army and naval casualties also rest there. There are 39 graves dating from the First World War and almost 100 from the Second World War. Of the Second World War casualties, 85 are British or Commonwealth, with eight Polish graves.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1917, the CWGC pays tribute to the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in both world wars.

Since then it has constructed 2,500 war cemeteries and plots, erected headstones and, in instances where the remains are missing, inscribed the names of the dead on permanent memorials. Over one million casualties are now commemorated at military and civil sites in around 150 countries.

Keith Lakey, the CWGC’s UK horticultural manager, said the renovation will “substantially improve” the grave plots

He said: “Sleepyhillock is an attractive cemetery but, with many shaded areas, we have struggled to maintain adequate grass coverage until now.

“However, by replacing turf and introducing over 350 new herbaceous plants, we hope to substantially improve the appearance of the war graves plots.”