The Wood Norton Remembers commemorations which marked the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1 commenced with a talk by Nick Miller, custodian of the Edith Cavell archive, on Wednesday 7th November at 1900 hours in the church.
The illustrated talk ‘Patriotism is not enough’ explored the life and work of this remarkable Norfolk nurse who helped over 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during WW1, and who was executed by a German firing squad on a charge of ‘assisting men to the enemy’ on the 12th October 1915. The talk was well attended by residents from Wood Norton and neighbouring villages, and there was an opportunity after the event to enjoy refreshments and ask Nick Miller questions on his research. For more information on Edith Cavell’s life and work, visit the Edith Cavell website.
The Remembrance Weekend opened at 1100 hours on Saturday 10th November with an exhibition in the church and a WW1 timeline and poppy art (made by local children and the Wood Norton Art Group) in the village hall.
The church doorway was decorated with a poppy arch and the poppy theme continued inside with twelve stained glass poppy plaques (one for each of our servicemen who died) and poppies decorating the pulpit.
The addition of four perspex seated soldier silhouettes (provided by the Armed Forces Covenant) were part of the There But Not There theme, and Henderson Plastics kindly donated a life-size clear plastic soldier engraved Lest We Forget as part of the commemorations. Two soldier figures stood guard around the font.
The exhibition featured six servicemen – three who lost their lives:
|William Forbes Norris||The first of Wood Norton’s servicemen to enlist and the first to be killed in action.|
|Arthur Robert Buck||The oldest of our servicemen who died in WW1 and uncle to Alfred Wright (killed in action 8th December 1917).|
|Thomas Walter Doughty||His parents wrote to the Red Cross in August 1918 trying to find him, only to discover that he had been killed in action on the 24th March 1918.|
and three who survived:
|Percy Gerald Meale||Emigrated to Canada post-war and commemorated on Stibbard Roll of Honour.|
|Charles William Burlingham||Brother of Robert Cecil Burlingham (killed in action 2nd November 1917, Palestine).|
|Walter Blomfield Andrews||He enlisted in the army on 1900 and served for over 19 years at Home and abroad in India, South Africa and France.|
A Remembrance Book was set up in the village hall, with residents invited to complete a Remembrance Card for members of their own family who played a part in the WW1 conflict. We have over 40 cards, which will form a permanent record and be kept in the Church, and have received cards from family descendants of our WW1 servicemen – from those who live locally and as far away as Canada and Australia. We were fortunate to have family descendants visit us over the Remembrance Weekend, joining with us in the Remembrance Service, the beacon lighting and celebrations on the Sunday evening, bringing photos, artefacts and more information to follow up and add to our research. Villagers shared their own personal memorabilia of their WW1 relatives, including photographs, a diary from 1915, a Death Plaque and medals.
Sunday saw nearly 30 residents joining the WW1 walk, taking in the village as it might have been in 1918 and seeing where our servicemen lived, and many more joined the evening torchlit walk from the village green to the village hall to see the beacon lit and hear the church bell being rung to mark the Battle’s Over nationwide commemorations. The weekend culminated with a celebratory event in the village hall.
The research on all our servicemen will appear on the Wood Norton website. The research on the servicemen who died in the conflict has also been posted on the Norfolk in World War One website.