Remembering the Great War

The Great War had a devastating effect on families all over the country.  If your family was not directly effected then you would have known someone who was.  Throughout the war years there was a constant ripple of grief as families came to terms with their personal loss.  By the end of the war, that ripple had turned into a tidal wave of grief that swept the entire nation.  All over the land, cities, towns and villages called for permanent memorials to be erected.  Some took the form of a simple 'roll on honour' hanging on the local church wall.  Most small towns and villages erected a small stone cross or memorial while the larger towns went for larger obelisk type memorials.  In all cases the names of the fallen engraved into the memorial.

The unveiling ceremony at the Hadleigh War Memorial on 21 June 1921

The unveiling ceremony at the Hadleigh War Memorial on 21 June 1921

One of the requirements of all these memorials was that they were to be permanent in order to provide a lasting tribute.  In the one hundred years since the Great War, these memorials have become a feature on our landscape.  We pass them daily, often with little or no thought.  But when we do take the time to stop and reflect, we can still see the names.

As time goes by and the memories fade, those names become just another name on a wall.  This project aims to add life to those names and remind us that they, like us, had dreams and aspirations, had families and friends and loved and were loved.  But unlike us they lived during a most turbulent period in our history where they were called upon to serve their country - and they did.  

In this section we will look at the memorials that were created and stand to this day in remembrance.  Also included are the memorials found in the surrounding villages of Aldham, Elmsett, Kersey, Layham and Whatfield.  The nature of life in Suffolk during the time of the Great War meant that the population of all these villages would have had very close contact with Hadleigh.  When the British Legion established a Branch in Hadleigh it was named the Hadleigh & District Branch and to this day includes those villages in its catchment area.

We will also include sites in and around Hadleigh that although not strictly memorials, have a close connection with that period.