Norwich Roll of Honour ready to be unveiled at City Hall

Restoration work under way of the Norwich Roll of Honour. Picture: SUBMITTED

Restoration work under way of the Norwich Roll of Honour. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

It is a record of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their county, but the names of our city's First World War heroes had been hidden away after the Roll of Honour fell into disrepair.

The First World War Memorial in Norwich Castle. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The First World War Memorial in Norwich Castle. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

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.

And now it is ready to be unveiled at City Hall to coincide with the time of remembrance and marking the centenary of 1916, a pivotal year in the First World War. Dianna Benoy, who lives in Surrey, was visiting Norwich when she wanted to see the work of her grandfather, Walter Burridge.

Mr Burridge lived in Onley Street with his wife, Maud, for more than 60 years and in this time the skilled carpenter created bespoke items for Norwich Castle, the City Council and St Peter Mancroft Church.

Mrs Benoy said she hadn't been able to find the Roll of Honour where she expected, when she visited Norwich Castle's keep four years ago.

Walter and Maud Burridge. Walter made the orignal roll of honour. Photo: Dianna Benoy

Walter and Maud Burridge. Walter made the orignal roll of honour. Photo: Dianna Benoy - Credit: Dianna Benoy


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And when she asked after it, she was told it wasn't in a very good way.

The memorial's panels, which were hinged to allow them to be leafed through like a book, had suffered structural damage and work needed to be carried out to ensure whenever it was accessed in the future, however carefully, no further damage was caused.

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Mrs Benoy said her grandfather had been at the top of his craft, and remembered watching him work as a child.

Now, his creations feature not only in the iconic buildings of our city, but in the homes of his family.

Dianna Benoy. Her grandfather Walter Burridge made the orignal roll of honour. Photo: Dianna Benoy

Dianna Benoy. Her grandfather Walter Burridge made the orignal roll of honour. Photo: Dianna Benoy - Credit: Dianna Benoy

'He was so precise and so lovely. We couldn't go into his shed but I used to go and tell him his lunch was ready, and my treat was I could help with a plane,' she said.

'So I was distressed really when I saw it, I couldn't believe it was dusty and unpolished and bits were missing.

'It has all the names of the fallen, of all the Norwich men, it seemed such a shame it was laying in such a damaged state.'

Mrs Benoy was invited to put in a complaint, which she did, and she soon heard a project involving Norwich City Council, Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service and The Norwich War Memorial Trust would be launched to restore it to its former glory.

Mrs Benoy, and her husband Michael, are due to be guests of honour when it is revealed on Friday, as part of the Armistice Day service.

The project will see the Roll of Honour relocated to the foyer in City Hall, and had been £5,000 short of its £45,850 target until a single donation from RG Carter Holdings Ltd tipped it over the edge.

Mrs Benoy added: 'I'm really proud. Not just for me but for the people who have got their names there. If we remember it's the least we can do when they gave their lives.'

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