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Grimston soldier set to be added to war memorial a century on

Frederic Hunter. Photo: SUBMITTED.
Frederic Hunter. Photo: SUBMITTED.

In the year marking a century on from the end of the First World War, one West Norfolk village is hoping to keep the memory of one of its former soldiers alive.

Grimston Parish Council is seeking permission to add the name of a sergeant from the village to its war memorial, after recent research discovered his was absent from the monument.

The war memorial in Grimston. Photo: SUBMITTED.
The war memorial in Grimston. Photo: SUBMITTED.

Frederic Hunter, who was born and raised in Grimston, served at Gallipoli and on the Western Front during the First World War. He was promoted to a sergeant by July 1916.

Although he lived to see the end of the Great War, Frederic died only a couple of years later, in 1920, aged 30. His grave can be found at St Botolph’s Church in Grimston.

Research conducted by local historians Ian and Steph Hall has revealed that Frederic died as a result of his service during the war.

Upon their discovery, Mr and Mrs Hall contacted the parish council to suggest his name being inscribed on the war memorial.

The gravestone of Frederic Hunter at Grimston. Photo: SUBMITTED.
The gravestone of Frederic Hunter at Grimston. Photo: SUBMITTED.

Last year, the council agreed that Frederic should be honoured.

Information provided to the council said: “Records state that Fred suffered from groin strain from excessive marching to the extent that by the end of the war he could not stand without pain, but the clue to his condition and his untimely death is the term V.D.H (Valvular Heart Disease) referred to in a medical report in April 1919.

“This is the term for heart problems believed to be brought about by the physical strain of battle and living so long in very poor conditions.

“There can be no doubt that Fred lost his life as a direct result of his service to his country and is as much a casualty of WWI as others on the memorial.”

The parish council has now submitted a listed building application to West Norfolk Council’s planning committee in order to gain permission for the new inscription.

Philippa Sewell, clerk to Grimston Parish Council, said: “Fred did his duty for the duration of the war at great personal cost. Sadly when peace came, Fred’s personal battle with ill health as a result of the dreadful conditions of the trenches continued, ending in his death in 1920.

“In supporting this addition to the war memorial, it is the parish council’s intention to ensure that all its fallen sons are not forgotten and it is pleased to be able to honour his service to his country.”

This is part of the Grimston Remembers project to mark the centenary of the First World War, which will see a number of community activities, Mrs Sewell added.

Members of Frederic’s family have said they are pleased that the council has taken the cause on.

Mary Robertson, who is a great niece of Frederic, said: “It’s nice to think that they had come across his name and thought it was fitting that his name should go on the memorial.

“I would like to thank Steph Hall and the parish council for finding his grave stone, for the research they did and for thinking his name should be on there.

“His name will now live on forever.”

Mrs Robertson said she had traced the family history back but “hit a brick wall” when trying to find out more about Frederic’s wife Olive Skerry, to whom he married in 1919.

She said: “I would love to find out what happened to her – they were only married for a few months.”.


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