West Norfolk family journeys to France to honour those in WW1

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The family of a Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) veteran has journeyed to France, to honour those involved in World War One.

Neville Morley, from Wormegay, who is grandson to Walter Jesse Garrod, travelled to Fampoux, in France, to place a photograph of his grandfather and a matchbox cover on a memorial cross.

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Mr Garrod, who was enlisted in 1914 and served until 1919, transformed a piece of brass shell case into a matchbox cover, creating what is thought to be a “ready made marker to show that he had existed”.

Mr Morley said: “It was at Fampoux, a village near Arras, where he found time to take a piece of brass shell case and make it into a matchbox cover.

“On it he engraved, using a small broken file, his name and regimental details, the name of Fampoux, and the date of 21st August 1917. He also drew his regimental crest on one side and a peacock on the other.

“This case might be described as a memento but similar were made by other soldiers and could well be seen as lasting memorials made in case those making them joined the tens of thousands of others who died and have no known grave.”

Honouring the lives of those involved in WW1, Mr Morley along with Andrew and Jacqui Morley and friends and family members visited Wellington Quarry, in Arras, where 24,000 soldiers gathered in April 1917 before breaking out in front of German lines, driving them back several miles.

Mr Morley and his son Andrew took their guitars and sang Eric Bohle’s ‘No Man’s Land’, otherwise known as ‘The Green Fields of France’, and Mr Morley also sang an original song about his grandfather’s experience in WW1.

“After Arras we went to Fampoux where there are six military cemeteries. I had previously visited all of them and discovered that the only RAMC soldiers buried there was at the Level Crossing Cemetery,” said Mr Morley.

“That is where we played our guitars and sang by the memorial which is adjacent to the grave of Private HJ Milson, RAMC Field Ambulance, who had died just a few weeks before the engraving was made.

“It does not require a giant leap of the imagination to wonder if Walter either knew him, or was indeed his replacement. This was such a peaceful and beautiful place that it is hard to imagine the hell on Earth it was in 1917.”