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'Shock and disappointment' as war memorial destroyed in West Norfolk village




A West Norfolk village memorial, dedicated to servicemen who lost their lives during World War One, has been destroyed this week.

The memorial had been set up on Chalk Lane, Narborough, to honour those who were killed at the former Narborough Aerodrome near to where RAF Marham is now located.

A staff member at RAF Marham contacted the Lynn News on Wednesday afternoon to say the memorial had been destroyed.

Narborough Parish Council Chair John Collins (left) hold a large piece of plastic from the vehicle, with Narborough Parish Council Clerk David Burchell (right) holding what remains of the war memorial names board
Narborough Parish Council Chair John Collins (left) hold a large piece of plastic from the vehicle, with Narborough Parish Council Clerk David Burchell (right) holding what remains of the war memorial names board

He said it could have been accidentally wrecked by a vehicle as the surrounding fencing has also been damaged.

However Breckland and parish councillor Peter Wilkinson suggested it was a car driving too quickly at the junction.

Members of Narborough Parish Council visited the site this morning to inspect the memorial.

The scene on Wednesday afternoon Picture: RAF Marham (22228142)
The scene on Wednesday afternoon Picture: RAF Marham (22228142)

Chairman of the council, John Collins, said: "I was a little bit shocked, surprised and disappointed when I turned up.

"Until I actually saw it, I did not realise the extent of the damage.

"One way or another, it will be repaired, whether that is purely down to the parish council or the assistance of residents and RAF Marham."

The main rock of the memorial which is still largely undamaged. Picture: RAF Marham (22228235)
The main rock of the memorial which is still largely undamaged. Picture: RAF Marham (22228235)

The memorial was set up in September 2011 to honour those from The Royal Naval Air Service, Royal Flying Corps, RAF and American squadrons.

It was unveiled by Sir Michael Beetham, born in Fakenham, who was a Second World War bomber pilot and a high-ranking commander in the Royal Air Force.

Parish clerk David Burchell said: "As far as we can tell, this was not vandalism and looks like a heavy vehicle has caused it.

"The biggest task will be getting the rock table onto the plinth. We have already had several offers from local residents and businesses to help with the recovery.

"The disappointing thing is no-one has come forward to say sorry but it may be a case that they do not know who to contact."

Mr Wilkinson said: "I helped initiate back in 2011 and helped to look after it, so I was devastated when I saw it was smashed up.

"We have an active historical group in the village who will be devastated as well. Luckily the main structure of big stone has not been damaged to that extent.

"When we opened it, we delved into the history of the aerodrome and found that it was a training setting for the RAF at that stage. There were a lot of American pilots and the relationship with them was good. It does mean a lot for all of us."

Mr Wilkinson said RAF Marham personnel would be starting to clear up the damage tomorrow morning and BAE Systems are also assisting with the process.


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