We will remember them

Published on: 1 September 2018

To mark the centenary of World War One, Revd Keith Dally, Priest-in-Charge of the United Benefice of Kings Beck, set out in 2014 to research the names on the Rolls of Honour of the six Churches of the Benefice – Banningham, Colby, Felmingham, Skeyton, Suffield and Tuttington.

Altogether there were 46 names from the First World War and 15 from the Second. In fact, during the process two additional names that were not recorded were discovered. A booklet was eventually produced detailing the information on each person, such as age, regiment, date and place of death, and so on.

During the last four years, commemorations have been held at the relevant war memorials to mark the centenary of the fallen from the 1914–18 conflict. On several occasions, living relatives have attended these services and added some background to what had already been found.

One such case was that of Private Lacey Pike. Lacey, who is remembered on the Suffield memorial, was born in Colby in 1896 and died at Gallipoli on 12 August 1915. He was a member of the so-called ‘vanished battalion’ of the 1st/5th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment, who disappeared in battle. The regiment had stormed high ground and charged into a wood, never to be seen again, although the remains of 122 men were found in an unmarked grave in 1919.

Keith recalls, “I was invited to meet some of his descendants and they shared the following poignant story. When Lacey went off to join the Regiment, he asked his family to look after his special money box, which was in the shape of a cat. ‘Look after it until I get back’ he said as he left. During my meeting with the family they handed me that very money box. It was a very special and emotional moment for me”; said Keith, “it took the stories off the pages and made them very real.”

During this period, it was recognised that Felmingham is the only village in the local area without an external war memorial and the church committee decided that this needed addressing. A design was drawn up by a local stonemason, Nick Hindle, and residents, local organisations and businesses have been asked to contribute towards the cost. The memorial was in place in time for the church’s flower festival at the beginning of August and Bishop Graham dedicated it during a service on 5 August. The end of the 1914–18 conflict also figured as the central display of the festival.

“The whole process has highlighted the effect of the First World War, in particular on our small rural communities where, in some cases, three members of the same family lost their lives. The lessons of these and subsequent conflicts must be learned to ensure that man’s inhumanity to man is something to be deplored and that we do all we can to work for peace”, said Keith.

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