11 East Anglian war memorials to visit this Remembrance Sunday
- Credit: Keith Mindham
This weekend marks Remembrance Sunday – an annual day held every November to commemorate those who fought in the First and Second World War, and those in subsequent years.
To help remember those who gave their lives, here are a handful of war memorials, found across the region, where you can pay your respects.
Are any of your ancestors commemorated on a war memorial somewhere in the region? Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org to share your stories and photos.
Ipswich Cenotaph, Suffolk
Located within the Ipswich’s Christchurch Park is the town’s cenotaph and war memorial. Out of the 10,000 Ipswich men who fought in the First World War, 1,481 of those sadly lost their lives. And in the years following the war, the people of Ipswich rallied together to raise £5,000 in order to build a memorial to commemorate who passed. The townspeople however raised an extraordinary £50,000 – and donated the surplus funds to Ipswich Hospital.
The resulting cenotaph was unveiled on May 3, 1924, in a ceremony attended by Rear Admiral Sir R Webb KCMG, the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, the Suffragan Bishop of Ipswich, and the Lieutenant-General SIR A Hunter Weston KCB DSO.
The front of the cenotaph is inscribed with: “Our glorious dead 1914-1919 1939-1945", and the wall behind it features the names of those who died in World War One, and the 660 who died during World War Two.
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Also commemorated on the Grade II-listed memorial are those who lost their lives in subsequent wars in the years that followed – these include the Korean War, Cyprus Emergency, the Northern Ireland Conflict, and the war in Afghanistan.
Norwich Cenotaph, Norfolk
Norwich’s war memorial can be found in the city centre’s Market Place, and was erected in 1927. Originally situated near The Guildhall, it was relocated to its current location in 1938. Designed by renowned architect Sir Edward Lutyens, this now Grade II-listed memorial was the last of his eight cenotaphs erected in England.
The stone cenotaph itself reads: “Our glorious dead, their name liveth for evermore. Remembering also all others of this city who have given their lives in the service of their country,” with ‘1914-1918’ on the left-hand side, and ‘1939-1945’ on the right-hand side.
It was unveiled in a ceremony on Sunday October 9, 1927, presided over by General Sir Ian Hamilton, a British Army officer who commanded the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in the Gallipoli Campaign during World War One. Lutyens was also in attendance, and the memorial was unveiled by Bertie Withers, a local veteran who suffered injuries after fighting in Gallipoli Campaign and the First Battle of Gaza.
Lutyens also designed a roll of honour which was installed in Norwich Castle in 1931 (which has since been restored and now lives in City Hall), as the memorial was not big enough to fit all of the names of the 3,544 men from the city who died during the First World War.
Aldeburgh War Memorial, Aldeburgh
Located on Aldeburgh’s seafront near the town’s Moot Hall, this stone Latin cross memorial was unveiled in 1921 and is dedicated 84 who lost their lives in the First World War, 26 in the Second World War, and seven civilians from the Second World War.
Designed by architect Mr W Crum-Watson, it was built by Farmer and Brindley, and details of its unveiling were published in the East Anglian Daily Times on January 4, 1921.
Its inscription reads as follows: “They whom this monument commemorates were honoured among those who at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardship, faced danger, and finally passed out of sight. Of men by the path of duty and self sacrifice, giving up their own lives that other might live in freedom. Let them who come after to see it, that their names be not forgotten,” and lists the names of those who perished.
Wymondham war memorial, Norfolk
At the junction of Middleton Street, Vicar Street and Town Green you will find Wymondham's war memorial. The sandstone obelisk was unveiled on July 24, 1921, and was originally dedicated to the 143 men who lost their lives in the First World War.
After the Second World War, 43 more names were added, along with three civilians who were killed by enemy action.
And in 2015, a VC slab for local Lieutenant-Colonel Harry Daniels was incorporated into the paving at the foot of the memorial. Daniels, who was the child of a baker in Wymondham, served in both world wars and received both a Victoria Cross and Military Cross.
Bawdsey war memorial, Suffolk
Following the First World War, tens of thousands of memorials were erected across England in order to commemorate the three quarter of a million British lives that were lost, and one such memorial was erected in the Suffolk village of Bawdsey.
Unveiled on Saturday December 4 1920, it was dedicated to the 14 members of the local community who sadly passed away during The Great War, and can be found at the entrance of the recreation ground, directly opposite the Church of St Mary.
The site on which it stands was given by Sir Cuthbert Quilter – owner of Bawdsey Manor – as his son John was killed in the war. In the years that followed, the name of two parishioners who died during the Second World War were later added to the memorial.
Sutton war memorial, Norfolk
This village’s wheel cross granite memorial was erected in 1920, and is dedicated to the four Sutton servicemen who died in the First World War. It can be found in the churchyard of St Michael's Church.
It was then altered to commemorate the men who lost their lives in the Second World War, and years later, a small memorial was added to pay tribute to John Phillips who died while in Bosnia during the 1990s.
Blythburgh war memorial, Suffolk
One of the more architecturally unique on this list, Blythburgh’s war memorial is actually combined with its village sign.
Located in the northwest corner of the Holy Trinity Church’s churchyard, the steel angel village sign was created in 2000 by artist Richard Maslen, and beneath it is a plaque with the names of 17 servicemen who died in the World War One, and two who perished in World War Two.
Within Holy Trinity Church itself, a roll of honour shrine can be found. Located on the north wall, it features benches, photos, and the names of the village’s servicemen who died in the First and Second World War.
The shrine was given to the church by Georgina Blois and Adeline Cator, the wife and sister of Dudley George Blois DSO - a Lt Colonel of the Royal Field Artillery who was killed in action during the Battle of the Somme on July 14 1916.
Swaffham war memorial, Norfolk
Swaffham's war memorial can be found in the town’s market square, and in inscribed with the names of those who lost their lives during the First World War, and later those who perished in the Second World War.
It is also inscribed with the following: “To the glorious memory of the 90 Swaffham men who fell in The Great War 1914-18. Erected by their fellow townsmen”; “In memory of the fallen of East Anglia. 1945 to present day. Lest we forget”; and “In memory of the Swaffham and district Far East Prisoners of War. 1941-1945. We shall remember them. 2011”
Boxted stained glass war memorial, Suffolk
Over in Boxted’s All Saints Church, a stained glass memorial can be found dedicated to Hugh Thomas Weller-Poley, who served as a pilot officer in the Royal Air Force Voluntary Reserve. He died on September 15, 1942, and is buried in the village.
Weller-Poley was killed when the Hotspur BT505 he was flying at night crashed in Wytham, Oxfordshire, near RAF Kidlington where he was stationed.
The window reads as follows: “To the glory of god & in proud & loving memory of Hugh Thomas Weller-Poley, who gave his life for his country, Sept. 15th 1942. Aged 20.”
This inscription sits within a larger stained glass window, with a depiction of Christ as shepherd above, and an RAF badge to the left.
Clare war memorial, Suffolk
The market town of Clare lost 32 men during the First World War – and they have since been commemorated with a 19-foot-high stone Celtic cross that sits within the Market Square. Built according to the designs of local stonemason FJ Lindley, it was dedicated by Canon W T Farmiloe and unveiled by Colonel Sir Courtenay Warner Bart on October 23, 1921.
It’s an octagonal stepped platform with a chamfered square plinth, and is inscribed with the names of those who lost their lives on the top two tiers.
After the Second World War, five more names were added to the bottom tier and unveiled in a February 1948 rededication ceremony. On one of the sides, an inscription that reads ‘We will remember them’ can also be seen.
Hadleigh cenotaph and wall, Suffolk
This Suffolk town’s war memorial is comprised of two parts – a cenotaph, and a wall behind it. The cenotaph is dedicated to the locals who passed away during World War One, and the front is inscribed with: “They died that we might live. They live unto God.” Beneath that it says: “Remember the men of Hadleigh who died in the service of the king for justice and freedom 1914-1918", and the 112 names of the men who died around the bottom plinth.
The wall behind is dedicated to those who lost their lives in World War Two, and is inscribed with the following: “Remember the men of Hadleigh who died in the service of the king for justice and freedom 1939-1945", followed by the names of the 38 fallen servicemen.
There is also a stone memorial dedicated to Staff Sergeant Sharron Elliott who died in 2006 while serving in Iraq.