Town’s trip back in time as it celebrates 100 years since Peace Day
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019
Soldiers from a century ago arrived by steam train at a Norfolk station as its town went back in time.
Crowds gathered on Saturday to watch the parade of soldiers, dressed in period costume, as they arrived at the Mid Norfolk Railway in Dereham as part of the town's Peace Day.
The soldiers greeted family members and other local characters from the time, just as they did 100 years ago in 1919 when peace was celebrated at the end of the Great War.
Charlie Robinson, chairman of the Mid Norfolk Railway said: "When the came to me and told me their idea I said yes straight away.
"It looks brilliant today, it has come together really nicely and looked great."
A guard of honour was arranged by the Royal British Legion (RBL) for the acting soldiers, along with current soldiers from the Army base in Swanton Morley.
Peace Day organiser Judy Rogers said: "Last year people were focusing on the missing and forgotten soldiers with a lot of silhouettes, and I wanted to put a twist on that.
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"That is why we had soldiers who are currently serving at Swanton Morley here, it brings everything full circle."
The RBL then led a marching parade into the town's Market Place. Crowds from the station followed the parade.
A Peace Day service took place at St Nicholas Church, which was attended by the 1919 visitors, soldiers and invited guests, including the families of men whose names appear on Dereham's war memorial and families of men who survived the Great War.
Mrs Rogers said: "I was actually hoping for rain as on that day in 1919, it was pouring down."
The Baptist Church also gave out a special copy of Luke's account of the story of Jesus's life to 100 children as they did on the original day.
Cowper Congregational Church in the Market Place was decorated and members gave out free refreshments to people during the day.
In the afternoon there was a variety of fun and games on the recreation ground including hobby horse, a free puppet show, cream teas and maypole. There was also a free tea for local pensioners.
Peace Day replaced Dereham's town carnival for the year.
Another feature of Peace Day celebrations was a series of amazing creations on trees and bollards around the town by the Dereham Carnival Crafters.