Daughter’s pledge to mark memory of north Norfolk-born war hero uncle
09:00 24 October 2012
Seventy years ago a fierce second world war battle took place on the northern coast of France which resulted in more than 3,500 men being killed, wounded or captured, hundreds of miles away from their families and homes.
The Dieppe Raid was an allied attack on the then German-occupied port and took place on August 19, 1942.
No major objectives of the raid were accomplished and only 2,463 of the 6,086 men who went to battle returned.
One serviceman who never made it back home was north Norfolk-born Eric William Gotts.
And now his niece is campaigning to see his name placed on a war memorial at his home village of Antingham, near Cromer - a gesture which would see her mother’s dying wish completed.
Evelyn Jenner, 67, lives in Kent with her husband, and has been trying for more than eight years to get her uncle’s war efforts recognised in his local village.
This is a cause which started more than 50 years ago when Mrs Jenner’s mother, Alice Sims, first visited Norfolk in the 1960s to look for a memorial.
But she was unsuccessful and died in 1990 at the age of 81.
“My mother died more than 20 years ago but before she did, she left me with this wish,” Mrs Jenner explained.
“I think she felt upset when she could not find her brother’s name on a war memorial and it was very important to her - but she did not accomplish her goal before she died.”
Eric was the youngest brother of six children by William Edward Gotts and his wife Gertrude, known affectionately as “Gerty”.
And when William came back from the first world war in 1917, after being based in Iraq in the second Norfolk regiment, he eventually set up home in Antingham after moving from Southrepps.
William died in 1936 and after her husband’s death Gertrude moved to Suffield and the family relinquished their farm as they were tenant farmers.
That was the year Eric joined the Royal Marines.
Mrs Jenner said: “There are such strong family roots in Norfolk and I think there should be a memorial for my uncle in Antingham - it’s very unusual for there not to be one.”
She visited the village almost a decade ago in 2003 to look for a memorial with her uncle’s name on and in 2004 wrote to Antingham Parish Council urging them to help her accomplish her mother’s wish.
She said: “Originally they were keen and passed my letter on to the Rev David Bartlett who was also keen to help. But now I have had no answer and I’ve virtually given up.
“It would be a breakthrough if it happened as I want to be able to come and visit a war memorial with my uncle’s name on it.”
A spokesman for Antingham Parish Council said they had passed on Mrs Jenner’s letter to Mr Bartlett who would conduct the research necessary to get Eric’s name put onto a war memorial in the village.
And in a letter in 2006 to Mrs Jenner, said they were in agreement that her uncle deserved “to be remembered appropriately”.
They have since contacted the Royal British Legion to ask for their help.
Currently there is only a first world war memorial based at the village church, St Mary and St Margaret.