Gallery: Hadleigh’s schoolchildren unite and lay crosses in churchyard to pay tribute to fallen soldiers

Children from schools in Hadleigh placing crosses and a wreath on graves in the town cemetery as par

Children from schools in Hadleigh placing crosses and a wreath on graves in the town cemetery as part of remembrance celebrations. Pictured in the centre is Jim Ebbs. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Children from all four schools in Hadleigh paid their respects to the town’s war dead today as they learnt about local connections to the first and second world wars.

As they were shown around St Mary’s Church cemetery in Friars Road the 46 students representing Hadleigh High School, Hadleigh Community Primary School, St. Mary’s CEVA Primary School and Beaumont Primary School laid crosses on the graves of fallen soldiers from both conflicts.

During their visit the children received a talk from Mark Brennan, chairman of the Hadleigh and District branch of the Royal British Legion.

He is also involved in a town-wide project, which some of the children are contributing to, called the Hadleigh Great War Centenary Project.

“We’ve got 112 names on our war memorial and nine of them are buried here because they were sent home because they were sent home or diseased,” Mr Brennan said.

“I was asked if I would put crosses on those graves but what’s the point in me putting them on? It’s better to get the kids involved. That’s why they came here.

“It’s a bit of a commemoration from the community but at the same time it’s a bit of education for the younger kids who might not be aware these graves are here.”

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Mr Brennan added one of the children visiting the cemetery had found they were related to two of the soldiers buried there and it was nice for the other students to see such a clear link between the graves and their own lives.

Mayor of Hadleigh Sue Angland said: “It’s been especially interesting and important for the children.

“It’s been interesting to stand by each individual grave and learn a little bit about each soldier because it makes it a little more meaningful for them than reading names off the war memorial.

“It makes it real to know what these men did, where they went, that they served all over the world and died from wounds or disease serving their country.

“It’s been a successful and worthwhile day and I think this is the best way for the children to remember.”

For more information on the Hadleigh Great War Centenary Project visit

See our Remembrance Day page for more on Suffolk’s commemorations