Sudbury/Great Cornard: Stories of towns’ First World War soldiers to go on display

Robert Hammond's grave at the Ribecourt British Cemetery in France. He lived in Newton Road, Sudbury

Robert Hammond's grave at the Ribecourt British Cemetery in France. He lived in Newton Road, Sudbury and died at the Battle of Cambrai - Credit: Archant

A west Suffolk town’s links to the First World War will be brought to life at an exhibition organised by the Royal British Legion.

Sudbury Library will be taken over for almost two weeks as the town brings a local twist to its centenary celebrations.

The project has been spearheaded by the Royal British Legion’s Shirley Smith and Alan Brockbank, and will be officially opened by town mayor Robert Spivey on July 28.

Ms Smith said it was “very important” to mark local people’s war efforts, adding: “With the technology we have now it makes it much easier for people.

“Because I didn’t do that much about the First World War at school, that stirred my interest.”

More than 1,400 men from Sudbury went off to fight in the conflict, with had a drastic effect not only on families but also the town’s workforce, with tribunals set-up locally for employers to appeal for their workers to be exempt from service.

Among the stories being explored will be those of Henry ‘Harry’ Gould and his brother-in-law Robert Hammond, who lost their lives within a month of each other having been granted short exemptions.

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The exhibition features a lot of research undertaken by Ms Smith for the book, No Glorious Dead, which she co-wrote, looking at the impact left on Sudbury during and after the war.

The book is still available from the Tourist Information Centre, the library, Kestrel Bookshop and Sudbury’s W H Smith. All proceeds are split between the Sudbury Royal British Legion and Sudbury Museum Trust.

There will also be two church and wreath-laying services being held locally on Sunday, August 3, at St Andrew’s Church, Great Cornard, at 10am, and at St Gregory’s Church, Sudbury, at 2.45pm.

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