Village’s unique war memorial honours its dead

PUBLISHED: 06:30 08 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:53 08 November 2019

The Rev Sheila James with the poppy wreath from Freebridge at the memorial cottages in Clenchwarton  Picture: Paul Tibbs

The Rev Sheila James with the poppy wreath from Freebridge at the memorial cottages in Clenchwarton Picture: Paul Tibbs <

A social landlord has placed a wreath on one of Norfolk’s more unusual war memorials.

Memorial Cottages, a pair of almshouses in Clenchwarton, near King's Lynn, were built in 1924 as a dedication to those who lost their lives in the First World War. They are currently leased by Freebridge Community Housing.

A stone on the outside of the Church Road homes, set between two of the front windows, details 23 local servicemen who lost their lives on active service during both world wars.

The memorial was created by the Clenchwarton Almshouse charity and they continue to be trustees, although the properties themselves have been managed by Freebridge since the lease started in 2012.

The houses were opened in July 1924, having cost a total of £400 to build, including a government grant of £75 per house.

Freebridge chief executive Tony Hall said: "The location of this memorial is an unusual one, so I'm pleased that over the last few years we've been able to support the trustees in providing a wreath for it from Freebridge in order to honour those who lost their lives in the first and second world wars, and we look forward to continue doing so in the future."

Revd Sheila James, who lives in the village and has placed the wreath on the memorial for the past 10 years said: "I was born as the Blitz began in London so I've always felt a connection to the memorial. I knew a lot of the families whose names are on the cottages and it's important to take just two minutes every year to remember what they did for us."

Some of the men honoured include:

Private Ralph Coates, who was born and lived in Clenchwarton, posted to 1st battalion, London Regiment. He was killed in action on August, 24, 1918, in France. He is buried in Summit Trench Cemetery, Croissilles, Pas de Calais, France.

Stoker Harry Cox, son of William and Hannah Cox of Clenchwarton. He was on HMS Vanguard and was lost with his ship at Scapa Flow on July 9, 1917, aged 52.

Brothers Charles Albert Maycraft and George Edgar Maycraft. Charles was a Lance Corporal in A company, 1st Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. He was born in Clenchwarton, the son of Charles and Emily Maycraft. He died of wounds in France in September 1916, aged 21. His brother George was a private in the 1st/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment. He was killed in action in Gaza, Palestine on April 19, 1917 aged 19.

Sergeant (pilot) Russell Edwards Fuller was the son of Robert and Evaline Fuller of Clenchwarton and was posted to 77 Sqn, RAF. He died in Berlin on August 24, 1943, aged 20. He is buried in the war cemetery in Berlin.

Gunner Ernest Frederick William Wake, son of John and Lily Wake of Clenchwarton, was with 2 Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery and was killed at El Alamein on July 3, 1942, aged 22. He is buried in El Alamein war cemetery.

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