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Life-sized silhouettes on display at historic Stradishall Church

PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 October 2018

Jane Helliwell in Stradishall Church with the life-sized sitting silhouettes. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

Jane Helliwell in Stradishall Church with the life-sized sitting silhouettes. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

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Ten life-sized sitting silhouettes are proudly displayed in an historic Suffolk church ahead of a week of poignant services to mark the centenary of the First World War.

The life sized model of a World War One soldier alongside some of the hand made poppies at Stradishall church. Picture: RUSSELL COOKThe life sized model of a World War One soldier alongside some of the hand made poppies at Stradishall church. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

The 12th century building in Stradishall has pulled off a coup after being awarded 10 life-size perspex models which portray soldiers who failed to return from the battle, via the nationwide “There But Not There” campaign.

It’s thought to be one of very few areas in the county which has gained the right to have the displays in their community to commemorate the ending of the 1914-1918 conflict and a series of events are being planned in the coming weeks leading up to Armistice Day on November 11.

Members of the Parachocial Church Council bid for the perspex silhouettes through the Army Forces Covenant Fund.

Jane Helliwell, the PCC secretary, has launched an appeal for residents to give any information about their relatives who may have been involved in the conflict so they can be displayed in the church.

The plaque of 17 of the soldiers from Stradishall who died in action during World War one at Stradishall church including three brothers. Picture: RUSSELL COOKThe plaque of 17 of the soldiers from Stradishall who died in action during World War one at Stradishall church including three brothers. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

“We want people in Stradishall to research their own ancestors and to write up their findings which will be displayed in the church with photos and artefacts,” she said.

It would coincide with a commemoration being held in the church in The Street from November 3 through to November 11 - Armistice Day - from 11am to 4pm, which is when the silhouettes will be on display.

Two workshops have been held in Kedington Library run by volunteers from the Haverhill branch of the Suffolk Family History Group.

Meanwhile, Hundon resident and historian Jock Whitehouse, who wrote a definitive historical account of RAF Stradishall, is gathering material for a display to commemorate the beginning of the RAF in 1918.

The life sized model of a World War One soldier alongside some of the hand made poppies at Stradishall church. Picture: RUSSELL COOKThe life sized model of a World War One soldier alongside some of the hand made poppies at Stradishall church. Picture: RUSSELL COOK

A Benefice Service is taking place in the church on November 4, at 10am, and it is hoped that local cadets will take part with other locally retired servicemen and women while on November 7, Mike Cerrino, an art medal collector, will give a talk on his collection at Stirling House Conference Centre, the former Officer’s Mess at RAF Stradishall.

And on November 11, at 12.30pm, there will be a Prayer Service in the church followed by the ringing of the bells to coincide with the National Ringing of Church Bells.

Meanwhile, a life sized model of a soldier has been created along with poppies made from the bottom of plastic bottles.

Research has also been carried out to find details of two more soldiers who were killed in the war to be added to the 17 already on the memorial in the church which includes three brothers George, 28, Harry, 28, and Alfred Chapman, 21, who all died from the fighting between 1916 and 1918.

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