Commemorative book focuses on lives of villagers during First World War
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
A special commemorative book which honours villagers from Long Melford who served in the First World War has been published following a four-year research project.
The book, entitled Long Melford and the Great War – The Stories of a Thousand Lives, has been written by Long Melford author and historian David Gevaux.
Mr Gevaux said he wanted to tell the story of all those from Long Melford who answered their country’s call during the conflict and how the village itself served the war effort.
Mr Gevaux, who volunteers at the Long Melford Heritage Centre, said his research uncovered some fascinating stories of individuals – from ploughboy to lord of the manor – who played their part in World War One.
“I looked at the names on the village’s war memorial and thought ‘is that the story of the village?’ I thought maybe I could find out the names of all the men who went away,” he said.
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“That’s the product of four years of academic research, now there are 1,100 lives the book.
“Part of the story is also about what the village was doing in that time to help the war effort – to help raise funds for the men at the front to send them comforts, to help the prisoners of war in Germany, to help the Belgian refugees, all the other many things that were going on.”
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The limited edition 400-page book has been funded through a Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ grant and all profits will go the Long Melford Heritage Centre.
Mr Gevaux added: “These are touching stories that when their relatives read it they think ‘that is really incredible’ and of course some of the relatives were kind enough to donate photographs for the book, which brings it to life.”
John Nunn, district and parish councillor and founder of the Long Melford Heritage Centre, said: “We were very fortunate to get a Tesco Bags of Help grant to publish the book.
“It will be a record for generations to come.”
The first 100 copies of the book have already sold-out but Mr Gevaux said a further print run is being organised which will hopefully be completed prior to the centenary of the Armistice on November 11.
The author added that people can preorder a copy of the book by calling Landers Bookshop in Long Melford on 01787 378957.
The village’s war memorial at Holy Trinity Church has recently been restored and a memorial beacon has also been installed to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.