Norwich man seeks the family of a First World War soldier after discovering a scroll

Ann Harris

Ann Harris - Credit: Archant

A builder is seeking the family of a fallen First World War soldier after discovering a hidden scroll behind an old picture.

George Orvice scroll

George Orvice scroll - Credit: Archant

Barry Harris, of Thorpe St Andrew, had found a framed drawing of a Norwich pub two decades ago, but when it fell from his wall and smashed last year he spotted the scroll hidden behind the drawing.

The document – honouring a soldier killed in one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War – had been concealed behind the picture for decades.

He and his wife Ann hoped to reunite the scroll with descendants of the soldier – called George Orvice – but did not know where to start.

However, after spotting Private Orvice's name in the EDP's Fallen, But Not Forgotten supplement last Saturday, hope was renewed.

Mr Harris, 70, had found the drawing of the Barking Dickey pub in Westlegate, Norwich, in the roof of an old house in Wingfield Road that he had bought to renovate and sell.

He liked the 1920 drawing, by W Large, so he took it home.

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It had been hanging on a wall at his Thorpe St Andrew home until it smashed last year and the scroll was found.

Mrs Harris, 68, said they were eager for descendants of Pte Orvice to be traced.

'I hope there's family out there that would be pleased to have it,' she said.

'It seems a shame as it must be important to somebody, and I didn't know what to do with it.

'We're very staunch believers in looking after our men.'

Records show that George Arthur Gentry Orvice was from Norwich and served as a Private with the Norfolk Regiment in 1/4th Battalion.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission data revealed that he died on April 19, 1917 and his name is on the Jerusalem Memorial.

He was one of more than 1,100 casualties across the two Norfolk battalions killed at Gaza in Palestine that day.

The wording on the scroll reads: 'He whom this scroll commemorates was numbered among those who, at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger, and finally passed out of the sight of men by the path of duty and self-sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom.

'Let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten.'

The list of Norfolk servicemen who lost their lives in the First World War also included Private Ernest Leslie Orvice, of the Norfolk Regiment, 2nd Battalion.

Mr and Mrs Harris believe he may have been related to Pte George Orvice.

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