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Family prepare to travel to France to mark the centenary of Norwich soldier’s death

PUBLISHED: 13:00 12 August 2018

Photo of Alan (right) with his father Albert and his brother Albert (who survived the war). Picture: Mace Family

Photo of Alan (right) with his father Albert and his brother Albert (who survived the war). Picture: Mace Family

Archant

The descendents of a man who died on the battlefields of Europe in the First World War are preparing to travel to France to mark the centenary of his death.

Photo of Alan Mace who died on August 22 1918, He was in the 124th Bde. Royal Field Artillery and is buried at Bagneux British Cemetery, Gezaincourt, France. Picture: Mace FamilyPhoto of Alan Mace who died on August 22 1918, He was in the 124th Bde. Royal Field Artillery and is buried at Bagneux British Cemetery, Gezaincourt, France. Picture: Mace Family

Alan Mace was a boy soldier when he enlisted and left Norwich to serve as a gunner with 124th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery on the front lines of France.

On August 21, 1918, while positioned to the east of Bucquoy, the brigade came under heavy enemy artillery fire causing heavy casualties.

Amongst the wounded was Mr Mace, who later died of his wounds on August 22, and was buried in the Bagneux British Cemetery, in Gezaincourt.

Now, 100 years later, his great nephew Shaun Mace, along with his wife Sarah and two other members of his family, will travel to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery to pay their respects and mark the centenary of Mr Mace’s death.

Alan Mace's grave in the Gezaincourt War cemetery in July 2016. Picture: Mace FamilyAlan Mace's grave in the Gezaincourt War cemetery in July 2016. Picture: Mace Family

Mr Mace, from Sprowston, explained that his family had always been proud of its military history and that it was not first time the family had visited the grave.

He said: “Alan has never been out of the family, it’s almost uncanny because people have always talked about him. He has always been part of the family.”

The 54-year-old said the family planned to install a ceramic poppy at Mr Mace’s grave.

He said: “It means a lot to me as generations before me have always known and respected what Alan did. It makes me very proud that the family have kept the memories alive for future generations. I have always found it quite emotional.”

Shaun Mace standing by Alan Mace's grave in the Bagneux British Cemetery, Gezaincourt, FranceShaun Mace standing by Alan Mace's grave in the Bagneux British Cemetery, Gezaincourt, France

Mrs Mace said: “It’s quite poignant that there is still family going to mark the occasion. I think if you remember what they did, then what was it all for, everybody owes them so much.

“Not everybody knows of family or has family who fought in the war but we are quite lucky that we do.”

the Bagneux British Cemetery, which contains the graves of more than 1,370 casualties. is located in the Somme region of France, which saw some of the bloodiest battles of the First World War.

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