Cromer hosts main Norfolk event to commemorate battle of Passchendaele

PUBLISHED: 17:12 03 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:12 03 July 2017

A Cromer Academy schoolboy keeps vigil at the war memorial last year, as part of the Battle of the Somme centenary. Picture: ALEX HURRELL

A Cromer Academy schoolboy keeps vigil at the war memorial last year, as part of the Battle of the Somme centenary. Picture: ALEX HURRELL


Few battles encapsulate the First World War better than the Battle of Passchendaele.

Passchendaele New British Cemetery. Photo: EquityPasschendaele New British Cemetery. Photo: Equity

And the main Norfolk event to commemorate the centenary of the battle, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, will be held in Cromer.

As part of the nation’s remembrance of the battle, the Cromer War Memorial Restoration Committee is inviting individuals, groups and organisations to participate in an 18-hour vigil.

During this time, committee members will stand as an honour guard at the Cromer war memorial, in the grounds of the parish church, in intervals of up to one hour.

This will start at 6pm on Sunday, July 30, continuing throughout the night, and ending at midday on Monday, July 31.

When the vigil ends, a service of remembrance will be held at the war memorial, led by the Rev Peter Herbert, the curate of Cromer church.

A display of First World War-related items from the collection of John Needham, chairman of the Cromer branch of the Royal British Legion, will also be on display near the war memorial on July 31.

The vigil and service come 13 months after an identical event to commemorate the Battle of the Somme was held in the town.

On that occasion, nearly 50 boys, girls, men and women, aged from seven to 87, took part in an 18-hour vigil at the war memorial.

Event organiser, Cromer town councillor and deputy mayor, David Pritchard said: “Following on from the Somme vigil last year I was asked about a similar event for 2017. The most significant event of 1917 was the Battle of Passchendaele.”

The Battle of Passchendaele took place from July 31 to November 10, 1917.

A fundraising campaign for the repair and renovation of the Cromer war memorial is being held alongside events to commemorate the First World War in the town.

About £24,500 has already been raised towards a £42,000 target, and a contractor will start work early next year at the site.

The restoration committee is made up of representatives from the town council, parish church and the Royal British Legion.

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