Tuddenham St Mary unveils war memorial to village’s 80 veterans

Unveiling of a new war memorial in Tuddenham St Mary ANL-141230-154316009
Unveiling of a new war memorial in Tuddenham St Mary ANL-141230-154316009
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A village near Mildenhall is celebrating after unveiling a war memorial to its men who served in World War One - just inside its centenary year.

Of the 300 residents in Tuddenham St Mary in 1914 a staggering 80 men enlisted to fight in the war, 11 of whom lost their lives on the European battlegrounds.

Unveiling of a new war memorial in Tuddenham St Mary ANL-141230-154338009

Unveiling of a new war memorial in Tuddenham St Mary ANL-141230-154338009

Until now the village has had no memorial to them, but a group of residents rallied support in the village and managed to raise the £2,500 needed for a permanent monument.

Susan Cook, who led the memorial project, said: “All the publicity about the First World War made us realise we did not have a memorial to our men, just a framed roll of honour in the church which is starting to fade.

“I’m in my seventies now. Once my generation has gone, there will be not be anyone in the village who knew these men. That is what spurred me on, to do this while there are still people in the village who knew them.”

The money for the memorial, made by Hanchets Memorial Masons in Bury, was raised following a plea for donations by Susan and a group of local history enthusiasts.

She and eight others researched the men who went to war and produced a book, Our Village in the First World War, a copy of which was given to every house in Tuddenham.

After its publication in August, Susan and her research partners asked the village for donations towards a permanent memorial to the soldiers.

“We had about 120 people in the church that afternoon and managed to collect £660,” said Susan.

“We didn’t go in for a large memorial because we didn’t know how much money we could raise, but we spent about £2,500 in the end. We raised all the money from donations in about three months.”

On Tuesday the memorial on the village green was unveiled by 71-year-old Barry Seamark, the grandson of one of the men it commemorates. A young bugler from the Boys Brigade played The Last Post at the service, and representatives for the Royal British Legion also attended.

Among the names on the memorial are two sons from the Lyes family who both lost their lives, and five sons from the same family who all went to fight.

None of the men who died were returned to Tuddenham, with one buried in Turkey after losing his life at Gallipoli, seven resting in France and Belgium, and three with no known graves.

Susan said: “I do feel that it is a worthy cause, that we have carried out something that will be there forever to remember them by.

“I think it needed to be there, for the families of those young men who sadly never came back to the village as well as those who did.”