Do you recognise any of these footballers who went on to fight for King and country?

Members of the Norman Evening Institute first team pictured in the 1940/1 season. Many of them would

Members of the Norman Evening Institute first team pictured in the 1940/1 season. Many of them would soon be off to serve King and country. Do you know any of them? Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

Many of our schools across Norfolk had teams made up of old boys, plus mates of course, and they were good teams.

This photograph is of the Norman Evening Institute 1st 11 in the 1940/41 season when the future was very uncertain.

Pictured from the back row left are: Charles Thorne, a teacher at the Norman School, R Courtney, H Wright, R Smith, R Walker, A Cooper and former headmaster Alfred Lewthwaite.

Along the middle row is M Howard, K Freemam and Bob Denmark.

At the front we have B Holmes, J Sabberton, N Yardy and G Gallant.

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Some years ago Sheila Reilly of Wymondham told me her father was Charles Thorne who taught at the famous old Norwich school establised by the big-hearted Alderman Norman in 1723 and it was to survive until the 1930s when it became part of Mile Cross School.

"At the time my father was involved in the Evening Institute and Norwich Fitness Centre. He and other teachers were encouraging young lads to keep fit ready for being called up into the services. I remember them talking about Fitness for Service activities," she said.

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There were events across the city and county at the time and the first of the bombing raids made more and young men wanting to fight for king and country.

"My father carried on being involved in footb all in one way or another. I know one of the players in the photograph, Bob Denmark served in the war and when he came back, he and others set up Norman Old Boys, a successful team," added Sheila.

By then her father was headmaster at Stalham Primary School and was helping to run Stalham FC who went on to play Norman Old Boys on Boxing Day for a few years.

And we also have good reason to be thankful to Charles Thorne who became a local correspondant for the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Mercury filing football, cricket and news reports for the papers and for the Pink Un.

Can you tell us more about the other men in the photograph?

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