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Cromer Mayor: Passchendaele vigil to remember war dead was ‘emotional’

PUBLISHED: 14:18 31 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:18 31 July 2017

Mayor John Frosdick took part in an 18-hour vigil by Cromer war memorial. Picture: David Bale

Mayor John Frosdick took part in an 18-hour vigil by Cromer war memorial. Picture: David Bale

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A special service of remembrance was held in Cromer to remember the six men from the area who died during the battle of Passchendaele 100 years ago.

Passchendaele commemoration in Cromer. Pictures: David BalePasschendaele commemoration in Cromer. Pictures: David Bale

The Rev Peter Herbert, the curate of the Parish Church, conducted the open-air service which followed an 18-hour vigil to commemorate its centenary.

Volunteers stood as honour guards at the Cromer war memorial in intervals of up to one hour, from 6pm on Sunday, through the night, to midday on Monday.

The Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, took place from July 31 to November 10, 1917. British casualties alone numbered nearly a quarter of a million.

The men from the Cromer area who lost their lives during the conflict were William Allen, Charles Bumfrey, Arthur Bunn, Arthur Craske, Alan Jarvis and Arthur Royall.

Passchendaele commemoration in Cromer. Pictures: David BalePasschendaele commemoration in Cromer. Pictures: David Bale

Rev Herbert said: “It was humbling in a sense to see those that made a special effort to be here - people who took time out of their busy days to come and remember. People made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that we have peace today, and we must work together to ensure that it never happens again.”

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

Event organiser David Pritchard, the town’s Deputy Mayor, said: “In total, 51 people took part in the vigil. The longest time anyone stood by the memorial was two hours and the shortest 30 minutes.”

He remained at the site for the whole 18 hours and added. “It was fairly chilly during the night. I needed a jacket and a jumper to keep me warm.”

Passchendaele commemoration in Cromer. Pictures: David BalePasschendaele commemoration in Cromer. Pictures: David Bale

Cromer Mayor John Frosdick did several stints at the vigil, and said it was “an emotional” occasion.

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