Loved ones remembered as Cobholm war memorial unveiled

When one man began to fight for a permanent war memorial to the fallen in his community, he cannot have imagined the raw emotion he would uncover.

But more than 60 years after Nazi bombs killed dozens on the Norfolk coast and hundreds more lost their lives at war, they are not forgotten.

And as 78-year-old Frank Esherwood pressed on with his vision of a Cobholm memorial, more and more people who lost loved ones during the war came forward to share their stories.

After four years of hard work with a seven-strong committee, the granite memorial was unveiled outside St Luke's church at a dedication ceremony this morning.

And the grandfather of seven, whose father fought in the second world war, says he is delighted with the result.

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'It's brilliant,' said Mr Esherwood, of Olive Road. 'I'm extremely pleased with it, I really am.

'It wasn't just me - it was the committee.'

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Around 125 people from Cobholm died in the first and second world wars, and Mr Esherwood felt they deserved a fitting memorial.

After securing a �4,000 grant from the Make It Happen fund last year, his vision has become a reality, and people who lost loved ones in the war turned out to see it blessed by Rector Chris Terry.

Maureen Brooks, 73, was just four years old when her uncle Frederick Sewter died in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, but she says she has always lived with the loss.

Mr Sewter lived in Tyrolean Square, Cobholm, before being called up to serve with the Royal Norfolk Regiment in the Second World War.

He was taken prisoner at the fall of Singapore and died of dysentry on May 25, 1943 - aged just 24.

'It's a waste of young lives,' said Mrs Brooks, of Century Road. 'I can't remember him much but from all accounts he always had me out.'

She went to the dedication ceremony with her two sisters - and her brother had hoped to attend.

'It's important to remember,' she added. 'Frederick was 24 - the same age as my grandson - and I think how ridiculous.'

Jose O'Mahoney, of St Nicholas Drive, Caister, wrote to organisers to thank them for the memorial.

Her Cobholm aunt, uncle and cousin - Annie, Albert and their daughter Joyce - were killed in an air raid during the Second World War.

Joyce's friend Pyllis Platt had been staying with the family in Elsie Road and was killed in the same raid.

The grey granite memorial does not bear any names but Mr Esherwood has arranged for a wooden plaque, naming the fallen soldiers, to hand on the wall inside the church.

The dedication service began at 11am at St Luke's church in Cobholm this morning, Saturday, May 19.

The TS Warrior cadet band performed, members of the British Legion were present along with Great Yarmouth mayor Colleen Walker.

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