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Portland Royal Naval Cemetery - War Graves Week Tours

Portland Royal Navy Cemetery

War Graves Week is an initiative aimed at encouraging people from the local community to come together and discover the World War heritage on their doorstep – learning about the stories of those commemorated by the CWGC and the skills, dedication and expertise of those CWGC staff and volunteers who work to keep their memory alive.

MEETING POINT at the Cross of Sacrifice in the cemetery.

Throughout the First World War, Portland Harbour was used regularly for training exercises and patrols for German U-boats. There are 67 burials from the First World War, 5 of which are unidentified. In addition, there is a Special Memorial to a casualty buried in Portland (St. George) Churchyard.

With the outbreak of the Second World War, Portland Harbour continued hosting training exercises. However, after Germany’s successful invasion of France, the naval base quickly became the target of air attacks. On 4th July 1940, HMS Foylebank was attacked while at Portland Harbour, which resulted in her sinking on the 5th. Over 70 crew members lost their lives, some of whom are buried at Portland Royal Naval Cemetery, the rest are commemorated on memorials to the missing.

By May 1944, both Portland Harbour and Weymouth Harbour were used as part of the D-Day preparations. They were major embarkation points for American troops, particularly the US 1st Division who embarked for ‘Omaha Beach’ in June 1944.

There are 103 burials (including 1 Norwegian Merchant Navy seaman and 12 German airmen), 10 of which are unidentified, from the Second World War, the majority of which are in the Church of England section, near the Cross of Sacrifice.

Extremely limited parking - if possible please park on the road to HMP Verne and walk down the path to the cemetery, this takes no longer than 10 minutes down a metalled path; No facilities or toilets; Uneven ground; Hilly or steep slopes

The Cemetery is very exposed and can, even if sunny be chilly. If wheelchair access is required it is possible to drive down to the Cemetery so long as the gates on the wide path from Verne Common Road are open. There are paths within the Cemetery but it's located on the side of a hill.

Please dress appropriately for the weather and bring a water bottle with you if needed. We will not be able to provide refreshments.

Reserve your place