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Suffolk man discovers history behind war memorials in Bury St Edmunds




A man from Suffolk has discovered the history behind 583 names on war memorials in Bury St Edmunds.

Tony Pringle, 83, from Newmarket, estimates that he has investigated ‘between 112 and 115’ towns and villages in Suffolk and their links to the war.

His journey began in 2010 with Newmarket, and has led him to researching Bury, after noticing that there was a gap in the market for the research.

A war memorial in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Tony Pringle.
A war memorial in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: Tony Pringle.

“I realised back at the beginning that no one had really researched Bury,” he said. “I had to do all of the Brecklands. I then had a crack at Haverhill, but while I was doing all of this, I realised that some of these people have started from Bury.”

The research took three months to complete, with a total of 583 names sourced.

Mr Pringle used a number of databases to complete the research, including delving into the archives of the Bury Free Press.

Tony Pringle, 83, a war historian from Suffolk. Picture: Tony Pringle
Tony Pringle, 83, a war historian from Suffolk. Picture: Tony Pringle

He said: “I always try to get their birth registration first, and then I use the Commonwealth War Graves website for most of it. They are the two most important bits of information. The fact that the Bury Free Press is online has been extremely helpful.”

Tony, who previously served in the Royal Air Force for 12 years, said that the hobby would not be possible in a previous era.

“It is a fantastic hobby,” he said. “You couldn’t do this in the early days when I was younger because the internet was not a thing, so it has made it so much easier.”

War memorial on Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mark Westley.
War memorial on Angel Hill, Bury St Edmunds. Picture by Mark Westley.

Despite his age, Tony is keen to learn how to use online video conferencing technology so he can do a live show to encourage people to learn more about war memorials and their family history.

He said: “I want to do it because I am a member of the local history society, and I want to go and give a talk on how to go about this research.”

Tony is also hoping that people will get in contact to help expand his website, so more servicemen can be added.

“I welcome all extra information,” he said.

You can find out more about Tony's project here.

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