Village festooned with 4,000 knitted poppies
- Credit: Archant
Four thousand knitted poppies festooned round a west Suffolk village is a poignant reminder of the sacrifice of the men who made the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War.
The small community of Barnham has shown amazing community spirit to create a spectacular display ahead of Aristice Day, on Sunday.
Of a population of 420 adults in 1914, a total of 80 men went to war and 19 were killed.
Sue Nutt, the retired non-stipendiary Church of England priest, said villagers have followed the lives of these men since 2014 and a 3ft cross has been put outside each of their homes while the village and St Gregory’s Church are covered with poppies.
“Most of the early boys to go were farm lads and we have tried to give the impression of life 100 years ago in a Suffolk village and imagine some of them going off for an adventure, catching the train to take them to a horror none of them could have dreamt of.
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“By 1916 men as old as 40 were called up and would have had to leave wives and children behind.
“On the green is a cut out of a train because there was a rail station at Barnham until 1955 and the lads would have gone off to war on the train. Two decorated bicycles empty of a cyclist are also in prominent positions.
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“We have tried to show that they were country boys by a small collection of old implements including a plough in the churchyard.”
A map of the village in 1914 has been created which identifies the homes where the soldiers lived and a train, constructed by village resident Scott Braker, has also been created.
The 19 who failed to return were Pte Walter Sayer, who was 29, and his brother Cpl Albert E Sayer, 23; Pte Harry Rumsey, 19; Rifleman Henry Debenham, a father of six children, 40; Pte Edgar Gould, 27; Pte William Clarke, 25; John Catchpole, 25; Sgt George Gaute, 34; Pte Sydney Pryke, 21, and his brother Pte Arthur Pryke, 20; Pte William Palfrey, 29; Pte John Davey, 29; Sgt Sidney Davey, 26;
Pte Walter Vincent, 19; Pte Alfred Theobald, 26; Pte Alfred Turner, 22; Pte Herbert Rampley, 29, and his brother Pte Sydney Rampley, 24; and L/Cpl Frederick Harold Davey, 22.
“We have rather pushed the boat out and it started with two women who between them knitted 700 poppies and it has just grown from there.
“It’s been a lovely, lovely community event,” said Rev Nutt.
A wreath laying ceremony is to take place at 10.30am, on Sunday, at the War Memorial followed by a Service of Remembrance in church and then a lantern procession is taking place at 6pm from the church round the village, past the crosses to the beacon where there will be a barbecue and songs.