The flying ace and the dancing star - new exhibition sheds light on the former Norwich School pupils who fought in the Great War

Commemorating WWI at Norwich School - John Walker has built a replica Western Front trench for the e

Commemorating WWI at Norwich School - John Walker has built a replica Western Front trench for the exhibition in the chapel crypt. Photo: Bill Smith

A full-size replica of a trench and a host of war-time memorabilia are at the heart of a new exhibition which aims to shed light on a school's contribution to the First World War.

Commemorating Old Norvicensions who took part in WWI - Captain Vernon Blyth. Photo: Bill Smith

Commemorating Old Norvicensions who took part in WWI - Captain Vernon Blyth. Photo: Bill Smith

The Norwich School sent off about 360 of its former and current pupils to fight, and 52 lost their lives.

Many were officers and were often targeted by the enemy, while a large contingent were in the dangerous Royal Flying Corps, which also suffered heavy losses.

This meant that one in three Norvicensians never returned.

The exhibition, in the school's crypt next to Norwich Cathedral, has been curated by Norwich School archivist John Walker, who said: 'When they charged over the top the officers could be seen by the enemy because of their uniforms and they were the first to be picked off.

Royal Flying Corps 'Ace' Captain Philip Fletcher Fullard. Photo: Bill Smith

Royal Flying Corps 'Ace' Captain Philip Fletcher Fullard. Photo: Bill Smith


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'The exhibition looks at the lives of the 52 killed and there were also more than one hundred seriously wounded.

'Around 20pc of those killed were serving in the Norfolk Regiment and mostly they were killed by shell fire.'

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Much of the information for the exhibition has been gleaned from the school's Norvicensian publication, which noted at the end of the war only four members of its original sixth form returned.

Mr Walker has also drawn upon his own extensive collections to bring an extra dimension to the display and to help visitors understand more about what life was like at the time.

Cigarette cards, regimental badges, miniature figurines showing the uniforms worn and propaganda postcards are just some of the artefacts on show.

Mr Walker said: 'There's a lot on about the war but I'm really trying to set it in its context by showing what life was like then.'

The exhibition will be open to the public from November 5 to December 12, 10am to 3pm, Monday to Saturday.

Any schools wishing to arrange a trip to see the display, which could also be arranged outside the normal opening times, can contact Mr Walker by calling the school on 01603 728430.

Do you have a story about the First World War? Email ww1@archant.co.uk

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