Armistice Day 2016: ‘The human carnage was so massive’ says Bishop, as Norwich remembers the war dead

The Armistice Ceremony at the War Memorial in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Armistice Ceremony at the War Memorial in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Shoppers stopped in their tracks, and Norwich city centre fell silent save chiming church bells, as people came together to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

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Armistice Day was marked in the city with a ceremony at the War Memorial, outside City Hall.

The Rev'd Robert Avery, from St Peter Mancroft Church, started the service by welcoming all who attended.

'Together we remember those men and women... so we might live in peace and safety,' he said.

James O'Donnell, a pupil at Notre Dame School then gave a reading of the Sermon on the Mount, before Bishop of Norwich Graham James turned attention to the newly refurbished Roll of Honour, which was also unveiled today.

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The record of all those from the city who died in the First World War had fallen into disrepair. And only when the granddaughter of the man who made the cabinet which houses the unique memorial searched for it, to no avail, was a plan hatched to restore the tribute.

Now, two years later, Dianna Benoy travelled from Surrey to see her grandfather's work revived.

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'I'm really proud and honoured,' she said. 'I think it's in the right place, it's more fitting her in City Hall.'

Blessing the Roll of Honour, Bishop Graham said it had been built as there had not been enough room on the War Memorial for the names of all 3,544 men from the city who lost their lives.

He said: 'For a city like this to lose 3,500 of its men still seems traumatic today... the human carnage was so massive.'

He said that at the time when war broke out, most thought it would only last a few months and many men volunteered.

But as the years passed the volunteers ran out, and conscription was introduced in 1916.

'For several years people in this city feared the postman,' he added, as often letters would bring the news of the death of a family member on the battlefield.

'As you look at the list of names you will see familiar names to this city,' he added.

The sun broke through the clouds as Rev'd Avery led the crowd in prayer, before the Last Post signalled the start of two-minutes silence.

Afterwards, the civic party filed into the City Hall foyer, and a dedication was held for the Roll of Honour.

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