Honouring the forgotten 54: Norfolk town remembers soldiers missing from memorial

Two new memorial stones are put into place in Diss by H I Perfitts Stonemasons.Picture by: Sonya Dun

Two new memorial stones are put into place in Diss by H I Perfitts Stonemasons.Picture by: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A century ago, the men of Diss marched off to the First World War in their hundreds, many of them never to return. As the conflict came to a close, those left behind did their best to honour their town's fallen on a new memorial, on which 101 names of the dead were carefully engraved.

Alfred William Rice, soldier in the Cambridgeshire Regiment

Alfred William Rice, soldier in the Cambridgeshire Regiment - Credit: Archant

Now, decades later, a research project has led to the discovery of dozens more of the town's dead who were previously overlooked, their names not recorded on the memorial, increasing its roll of honour by around 50 per cent.

The project, which itself lasted 18 years, was undertaken by Helen Kennett, an honorary curator at Harleston museum, with help from Diss museum manager, Basil Abbott.

Between them, they have identified 54 'forgotten' men from the town who died in the conflict, but were not previously recorded on the memorial. The names have now been placed on two new plaques, which will be unveiled next to the war memorial at the church of St Mary the Virgin on Mount Street as part of the Remembrance Sunday commemorations.

Diss mayor Keith Kiddie said: 'It is both poignant and appropriate in this centenary year after start of First World War that the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice are finally commemorated on the war memorial in Diss.

Charles Edward Sore, Stoker Petty Officer in the Royal Navy

Charles Edward Sore, Stoker Petty Officer in the Royal Navy - Credit: Archant


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'Lest we forget.'

There are thought to have been a variety of reasons why the names were originally overlooked. Nationally, thousands of 'forgotten' dead are being added to memorials, following the work of researchers.

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In many cases, omissions were due to errors with the original record keeping. Some were overlooked because they died of wounds or illness, away from the front line - some after the conflict ended.

Mrs Kennett used a range of sources to find the names including local papers and materials at the record office and the local studies library in Norwich.

James Harold Easter, Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve

James Harold Easter, Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve - Credit: Archant

She added: 'It was something I thought should be done and in time for the centenary. It's an awful lot of men and it's awful it has taken this long to find their names.'

The Diss remembrance ceremony will take place at 2pm starting at the United Reformed Church in Mere Street followed by a march to the war memorial.

Do you have a Remembrance story? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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