Grave markers play Remembrance role at Melton church

Crosses brought back from front are on display at Melton Old Church. Members of The Melton Communi

Crosses brought back from front are on display at Melton Old Church. Members of The Melton Community Heritage Project. L-R Carol Duce, Mary Burgess, Cllr Brony Abbott, Doreen Bartlett, John Duce, Sarah Latimer. - Credit: Archant

Their intended purpose was one of temporary remembrance, but a Suffolk church’s collection of First World War battlefield crosses has since served as a lasting tribute to the fallen.

Crosses brought back from front are on display at Melton Old Church.

Crosses brought back from front are on display at Melton Old Church. - Credit: Archant

Brought back from the frontline, the wooden grave markers originally stood to identify the casualties of war, until permanent headstones could be laid in their place during peacetime.

Thousands were retrieved by relatives of the dead and brought home as a memorial to their loved ones – and many found their way onto the walls of parish churches.

Melton Old Church, near Woodbridge, is home to one of the largest collections in the region, and next Sunday will play host to two local artists and a creative writer’s own responses to the crosses and the inscriptions they bear.

Among the names engraved on the markers is Alfred Cecil Skoulding, a Second Lieutenant in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, from Melton, who died from his wounds on February 21, 1917, aged 33.


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Alfred, Basil and Thomas Garrod are also remembered with markers, while the cross-shaped remnant of a plane propellor also serves as a poignant reminder of a destructive war.

Jennifer Hall has created a bronze poppy garland for the event, entitled Remember Them, while fellow artist Margaret Wyllie and creative writer Julie Garton will also present their work at the church from 2pm-4pm on Sunday, November 9.

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The event is part of an ongoing community heritage project which has seen a team of researchers produce a roll of honour listing the names of 190 men with connections to Melton who went to war.

On the following Saturday, the Melton Remembers project will invite people to contribute to an archive of material relating to the period at the Burness Parish Rooms 10am-3pm. Suggested items include photographs, letters or diaries from the time which can be digitised and shared in an archive to give people an understanding of what the war meant to ordinary families.

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