Interactive trial to tell lives of Saxmundham soldiers and their families

A new memorial trail will be opened in Saxmundham to commemorate the men who died in World War 1

A new memorial trail will be opened in Saxmundham to commemorate the men who died in World War I, it will start at the Memorial Field. L-R Peter Anderson, Saxmundham museum, Cllr James Sandbach, Geraldine Barker, memorial trail coordinator and Jane Anderson of the Saxmundham poppy appeal. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The lives of Saxmundham soldiers and their families will be brought to life in a new interactive trail. 

To mark the 100th anniversary of the town's Memory Field, a dedicated group has worked together to document the lives of those who lost their life in battle and their families.

The information will be accessible through QR codes and leaflets as participants walk the trial from the field on Rendham Road through the town, ending at Saxmundham Museum. 

“We’re trying to make it really personal,” says Geraldine Barker, who came up with the idea.  

A new memorial trail will be opened in Saxmundham to commemorate the men who died in World War 1, it

A new memorial trail will be opened in Saxmundham to commemorate the men who died in World War One. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

“All these little stories, they make you want to know who these soldiers were as people.  

“What we’re working on is more than a trail. As they walk through the town, people will be guided to the places where soldiers lived, worked, or even where they’re buried. 

“We want to know who their families were, their parents, brothers and sisters.” 

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Geraldine put forward her idea to Saxmundham Town Council, who will be providing QR codes and leaflets where the information will be displayed. 

A new memorial trail will be opened in Saxmundham to commemorate the men who died in World War 1, it

A new memorial trail will be opened in Saxmundham to commemorate the men who died in World War One, it will start at the Memorial Field. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

However, the research is being carried out by a steering group of dedicated volunteers, including Jane Anderson, the town’s ‘Poppy Appeal’ co-ordinator, Roz Barnett who is the town clerk, Councillor Tim Lock, Denis Bloomfield of the Royal British Legion, and Peter Minta and Richard Crisp from Saxmundham Museum.  

Help from the community, Geraldine explains, will make the trail a valuable part of the town’s heritage.  

Geraldine said: “We want the men not just to be remembered as names on a memorial, or where they fell in battle, but as real people who lived and worked in Saxmundham. 

“This is something we’re all passionate about, but we need people. Quite often, relatives will have a photograph, a postcard, a school record, or even just a memory.” 

“We want to make it personal to the people who lost their relatives, so we would very much like to contact them, if we can.” 

A new memorial trail will be opened in Saxmundham to commemorate the men who died in World War 1

A new memorial trail will be opened in Saxmundham to commemorate the men who died in World War One, it will start at the Memorial Field. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Geraldine is encouraging anyone whose relatives are named on the memorial in Fromus Square to get in touch and share their memories, so that their ancestors' stories continue to be told.  

Memory Field has been a place of remembrance in Saxmundham since 1922. Plans to revamp the field, possibly with some memorial gates, went out for consultation in October. 

To contact Geraldine, email: saxmemorialtrail@gmail.com  

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