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Rememberance Day 2020: War memorials across Suffolk given Grade II listed status for protection

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Hundreds of Suffolk soldiers who gave their lives for their country will be remembered by many generations to come after almost 50 war memorials in the county were given special protection.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has taken advice from Historic England to give listed status to 60 war memorials in the East of England - 49 of which are in Suffolk.

Each of the memorials was built in the aftermath of the First World War, which lasted from July 1914 to November 11, 1918, with the names of those who lost their lives recorded in stone.

Westleton War Memorial Picture: John G Francis (43065191)
Westleton War Memorial Picture: John G Francis (43065191)

For more than 100 years, these memorials have been the sites at which poppies have been laid, heads have been bowed, and many minutes of silence observed.

Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "Each year on Remembrance Sunday we come together as a nation in silence to remember and give thanks to all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. In our towns, cities and villages, memorials stand to these brave men and women.

"I am very pleased that this year, as we mark the centenary of the Cenotaph itself, we have protected 132 memorials so that future generations can learn about those who gave so much to our country."

Culford Estate War Memorial Picture: Adrian S Pye (43065186)
Culford Estate War Memorial Picture: Adrian S Pye (43065186)

Among the monuments to be given a Grade II listing in Suffolk is the one in Westleton, just five miles from Saxmundham.

The Westleton War Memorial was erected in 1920 in memory of 17 local servicemen who were killed in the war.

The names of three men from the village who died in the Second World War were later added.

The memorial also bears the name of parishioner John Gissing, a munitions worker who was killed when eight tonnes of TNT exploded at a factory in Nottinghamshire on July 1, 1918.

Theberton War Memorial Picture: Adrian S Pye (43065193)
Theberton War Memorial Picture: Adrian S Pye (43065193)

The blast killed 134 people, of whom only 32 could be identified, and injured a further 250 - the biggest loss of life from a single accidental explosion during the conflict.

Most of the workers at the factory were women but a number of men, who had been passed as unfit for military service, were also called on to work there.

Culford Estate War Memorial is another which has been listed as Grade II.

Thelnetham War Memorial Picture: Adrian Cable (43065189)
Thelnetham War Memorial Picture: Adrian Cable (43065189)

The memorial, which was designed by Bury St Edmunds architect Sidney Naish and constructed by stonemasons Hanchets and F H Goddard, was unveiled on Remembrance Day 1921 by Earl Cadogan of Culford Hall, with the Reverend Mahomed, rector of Ingham, having officiated the service.

The names of 23 men from Culford, Ingham, West Stow and Wordwell, all of whom worked on the estate, are recorded on the memorial.

Nine men from the four parishes were also added to the memorial following their deaths during the Second World War.

Theberton War Memorial - which was erected by Fred Barber, the same man who installed the one in Westleton - is also now Grade II listed to protect its historical significance.

The names of 17 soldiers who gave their lives in the First World War are included on the memorial, along with the phrase 'their name liveth for evermore'.

Among them is Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Hotham Montagu Doughty-Wylie of the Royal Welch Fusiliers, who died in 1915 during an attack he organised and led on the Gallipoli peninsular.

The London Gazette reported that, after landing on a beach, Lieutenant-Colonel Doughty Wylie and Captain Walford, who also died during the incident, launched the attack through and on both sides of the village of Sedd el Bahr.

It said it was thanks to the 'initiative, skill and great gallantry' of the two officers that the attack proved a success.

Lieutenant-Colonel Doughty Wylie was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, the most prestigious award in British Honours, for his bravery.

The 46 year old, who was born at Theberton Hall, was buried where he fell, close to the old fort at which he led the attack.

The names of two men who were killed in the Second World War were later added to Theberton War Memorial.

Sitting within the churchyard of the Grade I listed Church of St Nicholas, Thelnetham War Memorial was unveiled in 1921 by Prince Frederick Duleep Singh - the younger son of the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire, Sir Duleep Singh.

The now-Grade II listed monument bears the names of eight men who died 'for king and country' - five of whom were killed in battle, two who died in service and one who was killed on war work.

It was a poignant service, with Prince Frederick having been on active service in France for two years during the war.

This year, due to Covid-19 restrictions, it is unlikely that the same number of people will turn out to pay their respects at war memorials.

Instead, services are being held virtually and organisations and households are being urged to mark the occasion from home.

But Tony Calladine, regional director for Historic England in the East of England, said that the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has given the public a new appreciation for communities and those who make sacrifices in order to help others.

"Discovering the stories behind the names on listed war memorials and adding new information through Enriching the List ensures that the sacrifices of those individuals are never forgotten," he said.

"These poignant war memorials tell the stories of local communities at war and must be protected for future generations.”

Below is the full list of war memorials to have been listed ahead of Remembrance Day 2020:

  • Hintlesham War Memorial
  • Hawkedon War Memorial
  • Holton St Mary War Memorial
  • Newbourne War Memorial
  • Little Waldingfield War Memorial
  • Norton War Memorial
  • Raydon War Memorial
  • Great Blakenham War Memorial
  • Chelmondiston War Memorial
  • Felixstowe War Memorial
  • Ixworth War Memorial
  • Stanningfield War Memorial
  • Aldeburgh War Memorial?
  • Melton War Memorial
  • Needham Market War Memorial
  • Witnesham War Memorial
  • Harkstead War Memorial
  • Bury St Edmunds War Memorial
  • Hopton War Memorial
  • Layham War Memorial
  • Campsea Ashe War Memorial
  • Falkenham War Memorial
  • Needham Market War Memorial Lych Gate
  • Westleton War Memorial
  • Moulton War Memorial
  • Culford Estate War Memorial
  • Haughley War Memorial
  • Orford War Memorial
  • Flempton-cum-Hengrave War Memorial
  • Stutton War Memorial
  • Preston St Mary War Memorial
  • Risby War Memorial
  • Rushmere St Andrew War Memorial
  • Saxtead War Memorial
  • Stanton War Memorial
  • Theberton War Memorial
  • Kirton War Memorial
  • Erwarton War Memorial
  • Great Bealings War Memorial
  • Great Cornard War Memorial
  • Stradbroke War Memorial
  • Thelnetham War Memorial
  • Palgrave War Memorial
  • Swilland War Memorial
  • Burgh War Memorial
  • Wangford and Henham War Memorial
  • War Memorial at the Church of St John the Baptist Ipswich
  • War Memorial at Stowupland, Suffolk
  • Sutton War Memorial

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