War dead remembered by children and veterans at Suffolk cemeteries
- Credit: PAUL NIXON
Thousands of schoolchildren across Suffolk gathered at war graves to mark the end of the First World War at special ceremonies across the county.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
“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.”
The organisers had been lucky with the weather – and overall the event had been a great success.
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.