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War dead remembered by children and veterans at Suffolk cemeteries

PUBLISHED: 16:01 08 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:27 08 November 2018

School children turn out for a special Remembrance Service in Christchurch Park organised by Royal British Legion  Picture: PAUL NIXON

School children turn out for a special Remembrance Service in Christchurch Park organised by Royal British Legion Picture: PAUL NIXON

Paul Nixon Photography 01473430707 07904296577

Thousands of schoolchildren across Suffolk gathered at war graves to mark the end of the First World War at special ceremonies across the county.

School children turn out for a special Remembrance Service in Christchurch Park organised by Royal British Legion  Picture: PAUL NIXONSchool children turn out for a special Remembrance Service in Christchurch Park organised by Royal British Legion Picture: PAUL NIXON

Poppies were laid at war graves across the county by local children. More than 10,000 people from the county were killed on the battlefields of the First World War.

School children turn out for a special Remembrance Service in Christchurch Park organised by Royal British Legion  Picture: PAUL NIXONSchool children turn out for a special Remembrance Service in Christchurch Park organised by Royal British Legion Picture: PAUL NIXON

The majority are either buried where they fell – or have no known grave. However 1,332 did return home to be buried in their own communities.

The RBL honour guard at Ipswich Cenotaph flanked by the silhouettes of two lost soldiers.  Picture: PAUL NIXONThe RBL honour guard at Ipswich Cenotaph flanked by the silhouettes of two lost soldiers. Picture: PAUL NIXON

In Ipswich there were two ceremonies at 11am on Thursday morning. In the town’s cemetery schoolchildren laid poppies on the war graves in the Field of Remembrance which has separate sections for the fallen of the First and Second World Wars.

Children leaving a wreath at Ipswich Cemetery. Picture: JADE GIDDENS/Ipswich CouncilChildren leaving a wreath at Ipswich Cemetery. Picture: JADE GIDDENS/Ipswich Council

A short distance away more children were at the town’s Cenotaph in Christchurch Park and left poppies and crosses to remember those who died in conflicts since 1914.

Mayor Jane Riley lays a wreath at the war graves at Ipswich Cemetery. Picture: JADE GIDDENS/Ipswich CouncilMayor Jane Riley lays a wreath at the war graves at Ipswich Cemetery. Picture: JADE GIDDENS/Ipswich Council

This was the culmination of the Suffolk War Graves Project, which has been organised by the Royal British Legion and the backing of Suffolk’s Lord Lieutenant Clare, Countess of Euston, to enable the county’s children to understand more about the First World War and its effect on everyone.

Rev Andrew Dotchin was joined by Mark Sargeant from the RBL and pupils from Langer and Grange Primary Schools to lay poppies at the war graves in Felixstowe. Picture: ANDREW DOTCHINRev Andrew Dotchin was joined by Mark Sargeant from the RBL and pupils from Langer and Grange Primary Schools to lay poppies at the war graves in Felixstowe. Picture: ANDREW DOTCHIN

Mark Brennan, from the Hadleigh branch of the RBL, was one of the key organisers of the project – and was at Hadleigh Cemetery to see the youngsters taking part there on Thursday.

Mark Brennan with children from Hadleigh Community Primary School  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMark Brennan with children from Hadleigh Community Primary School Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

He said: “So far as we (the RBL) are concerned, this is the culmination of a nearly a year of work – schools started preparing for this by learning about some of the people in the graves back in January.

Tommy from Hadleigh Community Primary School with one of the war grave markers that children left at Hadleigh cemetery.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPicture: SARAH LUCY BROWNTommy from Hadleigh Community Primary School with one of the war grave markers that children left at Hadleigh cemetery. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPicture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“I think it is very important that young people realise just how important the war was. When you say to them that 800,000 people from Britain died in the war – and that’s more than the population of Suffolk today they then realise just how serious it was.”

Bridging the generations: Terry Wiles with Kiano and Maya in Hadleigh Cemetery  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNBridging the generations: Terry Wiles with Kiano and Maya in Hadleigh Cemetery Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The organisers had been lucky with the weather – and overall the event had been a great success.

Jeanie from Hadleigh Community Primary School with one of the war grave markers  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJeanie from Hadleigh Community Primary School with one of the war grave markers Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mr Brennan added: “I’m sure youngsters will now know much more about the Great War. Things will probably tail off a bit once the centenary is over – but there will be much more appreciation of what it meant.”

There were other ceremonies across the county in towns and villages large and small with children joining RBL members to commemorate the county’s fallen.

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