Poignant Norwich Cathedral service to commemorate fallen soldiers
- Credit: Ella Wilkinson
Hundreds of people gathered at Norwich Cathedral for a service commemorating those who lost their lives in the Le Paradis massacre during the Second World War.
The massacre occurred in Northern France some 82 years ago, as the Royal Norfolk and other regiments were seeking shelter in a barn while being shot at by the Nazi’s.
When the 97 British men surrendered, they were not taken as prisoners of war, instead they were lined up against a barn wall and executed.
An engraved Portland stone was erected at the cathedral after the Le Paradis memorial project, a charity which formed in 2018, raised more than £60k to recognise the soldier's heroism.
As the organ played at the Sunday evensong service, the choir and ministers entered, followed by the standards and regimental colour of the third battalion the Royal Anglian regiment, giving an impressive procession.
The Reverend Canon Aidan Platten addressed attendees of the service with a sermon where he made references to the sacrifices made in both world wars and more recent conflicts.
The memorial is located near to the Edith Cavell memorial where the Reverend pointed out that both stand with their backs to a blank wall, just as both parties had when they were killed in cold blood.
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Dennis O’Callaghan, trustee of the Le Paradis commemoration group memorial appeal, gave a reading in the service.
Mr O’Callaghan is the son of Bill who survived the Le Paradis massacre.
In attendance were family members of those who lost their lives at Le Paradis, war veterans and local members of the Norfolk ACF Army Cadets.
Many wore uniform and some of the congregation even had lapels with many medals on them.
The Sunday afternoon service gave attendees the opportunity to remember the 97 who lost their lives at Le Paradis 82 years ago through hymn and prayer.
Drawn from the 2nd Battalion The Royal Norfolk Regiment, the 1st Battalion The Royal Scots and other British expeditionary force units, the men at Le Paradis had been tasked with delaying the German advance while the Dunkirk evacuation of 338,000 allied servicemen began.