The Duchess of Cornwall visits Commonwealth War Graves and opens the new Poppy Pod Village in the New Forest

The Duchess of Cornwall carried out engagements in the New Forest today, visiting a church and outdoor centre that provides camping and respite facilities for members of the Armed Services. 

The Duchess of Cornwall views Commonwealth War Graves during a visit to St Nicholas' Church in Brockenhurst
The Duchess of Cornwall views Commonwealth War Graves during a visit to St Nicholas' Church in Brockenhurst

The first stop for The Duchess was St Nicholas' Church, where Her Royal Highness viewed its cemetery and Commonwealth War Graves.

The churchyard contains 106 graves of the First World War, of which 100 are in the New Zealand plot, including 93 New Zealand graves, three Indian and three unidentified Belgian civilians.

The Duchess of Cornwall also viewed a newly-created commemorative stained-glass window honouring those connected to the First World War hospital which stood nearby.

Brockenhurst was chosen in 1915 by the War Office to become a hospital centre because of its proximity to the port of Southampton.

The stained glass window honours those who were connected to the New Zealand hospital and tells the story of the doctors, nurses and auxiliary workers who came over from New Zealand and the 21,000 troops who were treated there.

The Duchess of Cornwall meets Scouts during a visit to the Poppy Pod Village
The Duchess of Cornwall meets Scouts during a visit to the Poppy Pod Village

After departing the church, Her Royal Highness officially opened the new Poppy Pod Village at the Tile Barn Outdoor Centre, near Brockenhurst. The Poppy Pods Village provides free holiday and respite facilities for service personnel, veterans and their families. The 20 wooden solar-powered camping pod village has been created by Hampshire County Council. Each Poppy Pod is named after a battle from Amiens to Ypres, and pine seeds from Gallipoli have been planted nearby.

The Duchess met service families taking their summer holidays, met members of a scout group and watched youngsters from Brockenhurst Primary School using the outdoor climbing equipment.

Her Royal Highness then attended a reception which featured a performance by the Military Wives Choir of Salisbury and Marchwood. The reception was also attended by families and personnel from The Queen's Own Rifles, a locally-based regiment of which The Duchess is Colonel-in-Chief.

Before departing, The Duchess of Cornwall unveiled a poppy-shaped plaque marking the opening of the new Poppy Pods Village.