Nov
8
10:00 AM10:00

Suffolk Remembers

On Thursday 8 November 2018 the Suffolk Royal British Legion are organising a unique and memorable event that will see local primary school children laying poppies on the 1,332 Great War graves in the 248 cemeteries across the county.

In the lead up to the event it is hoped that volunteers will be found to take on the role of local event organisers at each of the cemeteries.  In its simplest form this just involves organising a simple gathering on the day  However, for those who may wish to further develop the event an organiser’s aide memoire is available.

It is also hoped that schools will carry out some basic research to learn more about the individuals that they well be commemorating.  A guide to carrying out local research is also available. 

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It is also hoped that schools will carry out some basic research to learn more about the individuals that they well be commemorating.  A guide to carrying out local research is also available. 

Regular articles will be posted in the media to keep the community aware of the event and to update them on progress with the research.

The event is being planned and coordinated by the HQ Suffolk RBL, with local Branches providing support at local level.  Anyone interested in taking part in this event can register their interest and request more information by emailing suffolkremembers@gmail.com

The 1,332 Great War graves are located in the following cemeteries and churchyards:

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Aug
8
to Aug 9

Porch Project Battlefield Tour

The Hadleigh Great War Centenary Project took a group of youngsters from the St Mary’s Porch Project on a battlefield tour to Belgium and France.  During the trip the group followed in the footsteps of Hadleigh men who fell and heard stories of how the war effected the town.  There were several highlights, but one that stands out was when 13 year old Bobby Evans found his great great great uncle's name, Private Charles Mitchell on the Menin Gate.  Charles is one of over 53,000 men who went missing in the Ypres Salient.

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Jul
23
5:00 PM17:00

Writtle Tribute to Bertie Gowers

The bell ringers at All Saints Church, Writtle in Essex dedicated their latest quarter peal to the memory of Bertie Gowers who was killed during the Great War 100 years ago this month. Bertie was born and lived all his life in Writtle, but in 1915 he married Hadleigh girl Phyllis Buckeldee who was working in Writtle has a servant.  After his death, Phyllis, pregnant with her second child returned to Hadleigh with her infant son.  Bertie Gowers is remembered on both the Hadleigh and Writtle war memorials.

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Jul
15
to Jul 17

Bertie Gowers Centenary Pilgrimage

The Gowers family went on a pilgrimage to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of their relative Private Bertie Gowers who was killed in action in Ypres on 17 July 1917.  Highlights of the trip included taking part in the daily act of remembrance, the 'Last Post' ceremony at the Menin Gate and of course an emotional gathering at Bertie's final resting place on the anniversary.  While visiting the western front, the family also took the opportunity to remember other family members who died during the war and they walked in the footsteps of Privates John Samuel Hill and Robert Skinner, both with links to Hadleigh, but neither are listed on the Hadleigh war memorial.

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May
20
9:00 AM09:00

Hadleigh May Show Exhibition

The Hadleigh Great War Centenary Project once again had an exhibition at the annual Hadleigh Show.  The exhibition included individual story boards and great war artefacts and was in a large marquee which was visited by lots of people.  Outside the marquee was the great war trench prop manned by a young man wearing 1916 battle dress.  The exhibition was awarded 6th place prize in the non-commercial category by the show organisers.

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Feb
17
7:30 PM19:30

Porch Project Talk

The Great War project is intending to take youngsters from the Porch Project to the battlefields of France and Belgium in the summer of 2017.   visit to the Porch Project was arranged and Mark Brennan gave a short talk to a group of children.  Mark told the story of Lance Corporal Frederick Hinton Hockey using the two memorial candlesticks and the roll of honour.

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Nov
10
10:00 AM10:00

Hadleigh Schools Visit Local War Graves

Around 150 school children from all 4 Hadleigh schools visited the war graves in Hadleigh cemetery as part of the 2016 remembrance season.

The children (and staff) learned about the sacrifices that were made by Hadleigh families through the fascinating stories of each of the soldiers buried in the cemetery.

At the end of the visit the was a collective period of reflection and a wreath was laid on behalf of all Hadleigh school children.

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Oct
5
7:00 PM19:00

Hadleigh Society Talk

 

Mark Brennan gave an illustrated talk about the Hadleigh Great War Centenary Project to the Hadleigh Society.  The talk took place in the Guild Hall, Hadleigh.

The talk was titled 'A List of Names' and included a number of stories about local men who fell.

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Sep
10
10:00 AM10:00

Hadleigh veterans visit Suffolk Regt Museum

 Mr Len Davis, ex Rifle Brigade & Hadleigh RBL Standard Bearer

Mr Len Davis, ex Rifle Brigade & Hadleigh RBL Standard Bearer

A group of Hadleigh veterans took advantage of the 2016 Heritage Open day and paid a visit to the Suffolk Regiment Museum in the Keep at Bury St Edmunds.  Amongst the group were two old Suffolk soldiers; Mr Harry Hughes, WW2 veteran who saw action in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Palestine and Mr Vernon Leather, ex National Service man who's service took him to Germany, Austria and Northern Italy.

 L-R; Vernon Leathers, Terry Wiles, Harry Hughes, Len Davis, Mark Brennan

L-R; Vernon Leathers, Terry Wiles, Harry Hughes, Len Davis, Mark Brennan

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Jul
29
7:30 PM19:30

Screening of the film 'The Battle of the Somme'.

To commemorate the centenary of the battle of the Somme, the Hadleigh Branch of the Royal British Legion in partnership with the Ansell Centre organised a screening of the film the battle of the Somme.  The film which has been digitally remastered by the Imperial War Museum specifically to mark the centenary was well received by around 40 viewers.

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Jul
1
to Jul 3

The Somme Exhibition

To mark the centenary of the start of the battle of the Somme and to give the local community a chance to see the Hadleigh Great War Centenary Project's exhibition, a three-day exhibition was held in the Hadleigh Royal British Legion.  The exhibition included story boards, books, photos and artefacts.  The exhibition was well received with plenty of visitors.

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Jul
1
7:30 AM07:30

Commemorating the Somme

The Hadleigh Branch of the Royal British Legion marked the centenary of the start of the battle of the Somme by having a short ceremony at the Hadleigh war memorial at 07:30hrs on 1st July 2016.  The ceremony included a wreath laying, a 'trench' whistle blast at 07:30hrs followed by a 2 minute silence.

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May
21
9:00 AM09:00

Hadleigh May Show Exhibition

The Great War Centenary Project uses the annual Hadleigh May Show to put on an exhibition for the local community.  The exhibition, housed in a Marquee provided by local sponsors Dave Clennell & Helen Allan, uses story boards, books, photos and artefacts to tell the story of Hadleigh during the great war.  The exhibition also includes the replica trench prop and real life 'Tommy', which is very popular with the crowd.

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Mar
8
to Mar 9

Hadleigh High School visit to the Somme Battlefield

30 pupils and 4 staff from Hadleigh High School, accompanied by Mark Brennan and Nigel Crisp, made a two-day pilgrimage to the Somme battlefield.  The group visited several historical sites and sites specific to soldiers from Hadleigh.

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Nov
4
10:30 AM10:30

Hadleigh Schools Remember

The Mayor and children from the four Hadleigh schools visited Hadleigh cemetery to pay their respects to the soldiers who died in both world wars and are buried in the town’s cemetery.  The children received a talk on the significance of remembrance from Mark Brennan, Chairman of the Hadleigh Branch of the Royal British Legion.  The children went on a tour of the war graves and were told about the men who had died and the effect this had on the town.  The children placed poppy crosses on each grave.  Before departing, a wreath was laid and a moments silence observed to remember all those from the town who gave their lives in the service of their country.

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Sep
25
to Sep 26

Ipswich WW1 exhibition & VC dedication

World War One Exhibition to mark 100 years since the start of the Battle of Loos was held at Ipswich Town Hall.  The exhibition featured Arthur Saunders VC, Samuel Harvey VC, two local heroes who won their VCs during the Battle.  Running in parallel with the exhibition was a civic ceremony to honour the two VC winners, with the unveiling of two Victoria Cross Commemorative Paving Slabs set into pathway at the Soane Street gates to Christchurch Park.  The exhibition and ceremony, hosted by the Mayor of Ipswich was attended by decedents of the two VC winners and was open to the general public.  The Hadleigh Great War Centenary Project's 'Benton Street Trench' was a very popular exhibit, especially with the younger visitors.

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Aug
15
7:30 PM19:30

VJ Day & Gallipoli Remembered

 VJ Day and Gallipoli Remembered

I write to thank all those who took part in and attended the Town’s VJ Day 70th anniversary commemoration on Saturday 15th August.  The event also commemorated the 100th anniversary of Hadleigh’s blackest day, the 12th August 1915 where 16 Hadleigh men died in battle at Gallipoli.  The ‘Sunset’ ceremony which included readings, poems and music, was a fitting tribute to the memory of those who served.  Guest of Honour was local veteran, Mr Stanley Oxford, who as a young man spent three and half years in india & Burma during WW2.  I would also like to give a special thank you to; the Mayor Councillor Richard Whiting who led the wreath laying and read a poem.  Mr Michael Mann, Councillor’s Sue Monk and Angela Wiltshire for their readings.  The Stowmarket Boys Brigade Buglers, the Hadleigh Sea Scouts and Simon and Val Haines who stepped in at the very last minute to play a musical piece during the wreath laying.  The George (Public House) for the loan of their PA system, Jane Basham for the electricity supply and the Ansell Centre for the chairs.  Finally I would like to thank the Hadleigh & District Branch Committee of the Royal British Legion for their continued support.

Mark Brennan, Chairman, Hadleigh & District Branch, Royal British Legion

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May
28
8:00 AM08:00

Suffolk Show Ipswich

The Hadleigh Great War Centenary Project exhibited the 'WW1 Trench' prop complete with real life 'WW1 Tommy' alongside the RBL marquee.  Although this event was outside the project area, it helped to spread the word to the wider community.

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May
26
to May 27

Hadleigh Sea Scouts Battlefield Tour to Ypres & The Somme

The Hadleigh Great War Centenary Project took 14 Scouts and 2 leaders from the Hadleigh Sea Scout Group on a battlefield tour to Ypres and the Somme.  During the tour, the group completed a packed itinerary that explored several WW1 themes.  During the tour the group also took the opportunity to visit cemeteries and memorials that commemorate men from Hadleigh who fell.

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May
16
9:00 AM09:00

Hadleigh Show - Project Exhibition

The Hadleigh Great War Centenary Project mounted a public exhibition at the 176th Hadleigh Show at Holbecks Park.  The exhibition included display boards showing some of the research work that has been undertaking, including work done by the local schools.  Also on display was artefacts, such as medals and photos belonging to men named on the town's war memorial.  One of the main attractions, especially for the younger generation, was the 'WW1 Trench' prop complete with real life 'WW1 Tommy'.  The exhibition was a great success.  

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Apr
25
9:00 AM09:00

Gallipoli Centenary Parade in London

Micheal Mann along with his nephew Sam took part in today's Gallipoli Centenary Parade in London.  Michael is representing his grandfather Private John Charles Mann who fought at Gallipoli.  John landed at Suvla Bay on 10 Aug 15 with the 1/5th Suffolks.  He was subsequently wounded and evacuated and later medically discharged from the Army.  

He was subsequently wounded and evacuated and later medically discharged from the Army.  Michael is also representing all those from Hadleigh who served at Gallipoli including the 18 Hadleigh men who never came home. Well done Michael, we will look out for you on the TV.

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Mar
5
7:30 PM19:30

Bertie Gower's medals reunited

Hadleigh man Pte Bertie Gowers who was killed in action on 17 July 1917 in the Ypres Salient was awarded two medals; the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His grandson Peter Gowers only had possession of the War Medal and thought that the other medal had been lost forever.  15 years ago, great war enthusiast and medal collector David Gant was at a collectors fair in Kent when he spotted a WW1 Victory Medal. He bought the medal because he knew it once belonged to a Hadleigh man who lived on the same street as him.  When the Hadleigh Great War Centenary Project was launched in 2014, both Peter and David got in touch with the project at different times. It was only then that the connection was made and the idea to reunite the medals was born.   

15 years ago, great war enthusiast and medal collector David Gant was at a collectors fair in Kent when he spotted a WW1 Victory Medal. He bought the medal because he knew it once belonged to a Hadleigh man who lived on the same street as him.  When the Hadleigh Great War Centenary Project was launched in 2014, both Peter and David got in touch with the project at different times. It was only then that the connection was made and the idea to reunite the medals was born.   

The Gowers family are planning to repeat the pilgrimage on the 100th anniversary of his death.

David (centre of pictrure) very kindly offered to give the medal back to the Gowers' family.  The Gowers' family are extremely proud of Bertie and a few years ago organised a family pilgrimage to visit Bertie's final resting place at Larch Wood Cemetery near Ypres.

The Gowers family are planning to repeat the pilgrimage on the 100th anniversary of his death. They are delighted to have the missing medal back and thank David for his kind gesture.  This project is all about remembering those who gave all during that great struggle and I think it is safe to say that the memory of Bertie Gowers will be safe in the hands of the next generation of the Gowers family.

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Nov
9
6:00 PM18:00

Hadleigh Remembrance Day Parade and Service

Sunday 9 November saw the annual remembrance day parade and church service at St Mary’s.  The weather was fine and the community once again turned out in support.  The Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Mrs Diana Hunt  led the wreath laying at the memorial.  As usual the Army, specifically 7 Bn REME from Wattisham Station did us proud by providing a fine marching detachment, an honour guard on the memorial and a fly past by two Apache helicopters.  The officers and soldiers were all impeccably turned out and drilled with great precision.


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Nov
9
10:30 AM10:30

Layham Centenary Remembrance Day Service

The annual remembrance ceremony was held at the Layham burial ground and at St Andrew's church.  The occasion was very special with descendants of nine men listed on the Layham memorial in attendance.  In the week leading up to the ceremony, local children attended a art workshop, where they made bespoke wooden crosses for each of the men listed on the memorial.  See the Layham memorial page for more details.

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Nov
7
10:30 AM10:30

Hadleigh Schools join Mayor to remember

The Mayor, Mrs Sue Angland and 46 children from the four Hadleigh schools visited Hadleigh cemetery to pay their respects to the soldiers who died in both world wars and are buried in the town’s cemetery. 

The children received a talk on the significance of remembrance from Mark Brennan, Chairman of the Hadleigh Branch of the Royal British Legion and were told about the men who had died.  The children then placed poppy crosses on each grave.  Before departing, a wreath was laid and a moments silence observed to remember all those from the town who gave their lives in the service of their country.

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Oct
22
10:00 AM10:00

St Mary's School Year 6 visit the Hadleigh War Memorial

 Poppy crosses left by the children from St Mary's

Poppy crosses left by the children from St Mary's

A group of very enthusiastic year 6 pupils from St Mary's School visited the war memorial and received a talk from Mark Brennan.  The children (and adults) were given name cards and told to find their name on the memorial.  Mark then told them a little bit about each name and showed a number of photographs.  This helped the children to understand that these names belonged to real people, who once lived in in our community.  After the talk the children laid some remembrance crosses and observed a moments silence.  The children also took rubbings of some of the names for use in a future project back at school.

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Sep
20
7:30 PM19:30

A Good Old British Concert

A charity concert to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the great war and the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Briton.  Included music and songs from the period and concluded with a period of reflection.  The concert, organised by Mr Fred Breyer raised £680 for the Poppy Appeal.

 
 
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Aug
4
7:00 PM19:00

Lights Out Commemorative Service

On the evening of the 4th August 2014 a large crowd gathered at the town’s memorial garden to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Britain’s entry into World War 1.  The event organised by the local branch of the Royal British Legion coincided with similar events taking place all over the country.  At 9pm the Legion Standard Bearers took up position and the Branch Chairman gave an opening address.  Three young majorettes from the Diamond Lights group, then lit a candle and placed it at the foot of the memorial.  Everyone was then treated to the first of three amazing songs by teenager Tayla Djemal.  David Olive and the Mayor, Sue Angland read two beautiful poems, ‘In Flanders Fields’ and ‘We will keep the faith’.  The Branch Chairman told the sad story of Ophir and Selina Jarvis, Ophir Jarvis being one of the 112 names engraved on the war memorial.  As darkness fell, the memorial which was lit by flood lights, provided the perfect setting for the Sea Scouts and Cubs to lay a wreath on behalf of the town.  The end of the ceremony saw the traditional sounding of the ‘Last Post’ and Cadet Lewis Kempson of the Air Training Corps read out the exhortation.  A moments silence was observed.  The silence was broken by a blast of a great war trench whistle.  The sound of such a whistle for many soldiers going over the top would have been the last thing they heard.  The whistle blast also signalled the turning off of the flood lights and the formal end of the ceremony.  Individuals then made their way into the memorial garden to lay their own personal tributes of flowers or candles at the memorial.  In the crowd on this unique occasion was 99 year old Margaret Jarvis, the daughter of Ophir Jarvis, thought to be the last direct relative to anyone on the memorial.  Although the ceremony was not rehearsed, it went very well.  The lighting and sound and in particular the incredible voice of young Tayla Djemal made it a very atmospheric and moving evening that was a fine tribute to those who fell and to the great war generation. 

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Aug
4
7:00 AM07:00

St Marys Great War Centenary Candle Vigil

A 12 hour candle vigil was carried out to mark the 100th anniversary of Britain's entry into WW1.  The aim was to mark the anniversary by providing an opportunity for the community to reflect.  Each hour, on the hour a different volunteer led on a specific theme.  Some read articles, some poems and others prayed and candles were lit.  The event was supported by individuals and groups from across the community.

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