We will remember them

PUBLISHED: 06:05 12 May 2014

First World War, April, EDP Norfolk

First World War, April, EDP Norfolk


One hundred years ago this summer Britain went to war and the world changed for ever. No community was left untouched by the horror unleashed over the ensuing four years, and even a century on, the stories of the people lost, loved or left behind still reverberate. Across Norfolk the anniversary is being marked in photographic exhibitions, shows, in schools, by restoring memorials and rekindling memories.

The First World War tore through the lives of the people of Holkham, from the family in the hall to village farm workers.

A century on, Holkham Hall is staging an exhibition, telling some of the stories of the impact of the war on the huge north Norfolk estate.

It includes letters, photographs, artefacts, books and personal stories, including that of Arthur Coke, grandfather of the present Earl of Leicester. Arthur fought at Ypres and Gallipoli but was killed in action in May 1915. He had taken his Airedale terrier, Jack, to war and following his death, faithful Jack was returned to Holkham by Arthur’s fellow officers and is buried on the estate.

Duty Calls: Holkham 1914 to 1918 runs from April 1 to October 31 on the days when Holkham is open, normal admission charges apply.


The stories of Norfolk people caught up in the First World War will be retold by children, 100 years on. Schoolchildren learn about life and death during the war as part of a project coordinated by Norwich Theatre Royal, culminating in an August concert called To End All Wars.

Pupils from four schools will research names commemorated on war memorials to help create performances for the show and also find out about the lives of people such as soldier brothers from Upwell, near Downham Market, who both died, and the only First World War Land Army girl to feature at the Imperial War Museum. Olive Crosswell was stationed at Houghton Hall after volunteering because she thought Lord Kitchener was pointing at her. Lt Robert Millington Knowles of Taverham Hall described harrowing scenes in his letters home and displayed huge bravery on the battlefield – fortified by Fortnum and Mason hampers from his mother. The children will also present the stories of a nurse, a conscientious objector and a bereaved mother.

Songs and poetry of the First World War will feature in a commemorative concert at the three-day Whinburgh music festival in July. The Iceni Choir will performing Hell and Humour in the Trenches on Friday, July 25 at St Mary’s Church, Whinburgh, near Dereham.

From flag-waving enlistment drives, via building battlefield trenches to gas attacks – a Dutch theatre company will be bringing the First World War alive for Norfolk schoolchildren. Youngsters will join in, playing the roles of soldiers to immerse them in the study of the poignant poetry of the war.

The Phileas Fogg theatre company is putting together a tour of Norfolk schools next year – teachers can find out more at www.phileasfogg.org.uk

Will you be commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War this summer? We would love to hear from communities, organisations and individuals marking the anniversary. Email details to rowan.mantell@archant.co.uk

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