WW1 remembered on its centenary weekend

Burrell's 'munitionettes' apparently pictured on a picnic in their work clothes, from the Ancient House Museum's exhibition  ANL-140730-094634001

Burrell's 'munitionettes' apparently pictured on a picnic in their work clothes, from the Ancient House Museum's exhibition ANL-140730-094634001

Monday is the centenary of the start of World War One so this weekend sees many communities remembering their part in the conflict.

Whether it is commemorating their dead or recalling their part supplying the forces, this weekend sees ceremonies and the opening of displays, ranging from local history groups’, as we featured last week in Walsham le Willows, to professional museums’.

Many churches are holding commemorative services over the next three days. North Bury Team Ministry is opening its three churches from 9am until dusk on Monday, with 6.30pm Vigil Eucharist followed by the names of the parish’s fallen at St John’s Church, St John’s Street, and prayers at St George’s, Anselm Avenue at 8pm and All Saints’, Park Road at 9pm.

A special service will be also held at on August 23 at St Mary’s Church, Bury St Edmunds, to mark the first Suffolk Regiment deaths.

Some villages are unveiling their first war memorials a century on from the conflict.

Bradfield Combust will dedicate its new war memorial, bearing four WW1 and four WW2 names, at 11am on Saturday at a ceremony attended by St Edmundsbury Mayor Cllr Robert Everitt and relatives of five of the dead, who are coming from as far as Oman.

A village wreath will be laid by Betty Middleditch, sister-in-law of Private William Middleditch who died in Belgium in May 1940.

Badwell Ash has commissioned a new village sign incorporating a memorial to its 51 Great War dead. Their names are also listed on a roll of honour in the church, which has a stained glass window dedicated to them.

The memorial will be dedicated at a WW1 commemoration starting with a minute silence at 11am on Sunday. There is also an exhibition of WW1 items from Badwell residents in the village hall.

On Saturday Thetford’s Ancient House Museum opens its WW1 exhibition. It includes a figure by sculptor Do Phillips of Leonard Newton, who lived at Ancient House and was killed at Ypres in 1915.

But it also recalls how the Burrells’ factory’s engineering skills turned to munitions and the area’s involvement in the development of the first tanks which were tested on Elveden Estate. A star exhibit is a leather and chain mail mask worn by tank drivers to protect against ‘bullet splash’.

Three West Suffolk organisations are taking part in the national Lights Out commemorative event on Monday. Everyone is invited to turn off their lights from 10pm to 11pm, leaving a single light or candle burning (see www.1418now.org.uk). Bury St Edmunds Town Council and Lakenheath and Bacton Royal British Legion are among those taking part.




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