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West Norfolk residents pause to honour Fallen of First World War




Downham Market Academy student Adam Hutchinson with his display on the centenary of Passchendaele at Discover Downham Heritage Centre. Photo: SUBMITTED.
Downham Market Academy student Adam Hutchinson with his display on the centenary of Passchendaele at Discover Downham Heritage Centre. Photo: SUBMITTED.

As the time when we pause to remember draws near, residents in West Norfolk have shared what they have been doing to honour the Fallen.

In Downham, student Adam Hutchinson, 15, has shared some of the town’s stories of the First World War campaign at Passchendaele in a display at the Discover Downham Heritage Centre.

Cottage in Dodds Hill, Dersingham, which was damaged after a bomb was dropped from a Zeppelin in September 1916. Photo: SUBMITTED.
Cottage in Dodds Hill, Dersingham, which was damaged after a bomb was dropped from a Zeppelin in September 1916. Photo: SUBMITTED.

Adam asked residents to help him with the temporary exhibit by sharing information and artefacts from relatives who served during the campaign.

His display, which coincides with the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, was inspired by a school trip to the battlefields of the First World War last year, and by his own great grandfather who was decorated on the first day of the Passchendaele campaign.

The display is expected to be at Discover Downham until at least the end of this month.

Adam thanked those who helped with contributions.

Southery Academy's remembrance display. Photo: SUBMITTED.
Southery Academy's remembrance display. Photo: SUBMITTED.

Elsewhere, the Friends of Southery Academy (FOSA) held a craft afternoon with the school pupils last week where they created a poppy mosaic and plastic poppies.

Emma Paul, FOSA chairwoman, said: “We explained to the children why we wear the poppy and the meaning behind Armistice Day.

“We discussed how many soldiers from Southery lost their lives in the Great War and the Second World War – 58 in total, and decided to dedicate one poppy in the garden to each fallen soldier of Southery.”

The soldiers’ names are marked on the leaves of the poppies, which are displayed at the school’s front garden.

Poppies at Southery Academy ahead of Remembrance Day. Photo: SUBMITTED.
Poppies at Southery Academy ahead of Remembrance Day. Photo: SUBMITTED.

Almost 100 years on from when the First World War ended, a number of residents have completed their own research into the lives of villagers during this time.

In Dersingham, more light has been shed on the story of one mother who died during the war years.

Village historians Elizabeth Fiddick and Mike Strange have been instrumental in researching Violet “Ellen” Dunger, who died in September 1916 as a result of injuries sustained from a bomb dropped by a zeppelin.

The bomb damaged the cottage Mrs Dunger and her three daughters were staying in at Doddshill, but while her daughters survived, Mrs Dunger died weeks later.

Miss Fiddick and Mr Strange have recently been able to track down Mrs Dunger’s death certificate, which confirms she died after a bomb was dropped by a “hostile aircraft”.

This means that, for the first time, Mrs Dunger’s name will be included in the list read out as a civilian casualty during the village’s Remembrance service.

Miss Fiddick said: “I have been working with Mike and researching Dersingham history for a considerable time.”

She said there had been hearsay in the village that Mrs Dunger had died after an air raid on the village, but there had never been concrete proof.

“We were very pleased when we got the death certificate a month or so ago – it had been sort of niggling at me for quite a long time.”

For more on the history of Dersingham, visit www.dersinghamhistory.info.



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