‘They deserve to more than just names’ - Poignant trail organised to commemorate the fallen
- Credit: Archant
A poignant and eye-opening trail has been created in memory of those who lost their lives during the Second World War.
The Old Catton Remembers Poppy Trail, organised by the local Royal British Legion (RBL) branch, features posters of biographies and photographs of the fallen from the area north of Norwich city centre.
Described as a “lockdown labour of love” by its brainchild Lindsay Carruthers, chair of the branch, she explained that the project took months of hard work to complete.
She said: “It had always been my hope to research the names on our war memorial this year as part of the commemorative 75 years of the end of the Second World War.
“I had to completely immerse myself in the research, and it took me weeks and weeks and weeks to finalise.
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“There were times when I became stuck, but some of my genealogy friends and people I know online were able to help me. I was also able to find family members and make contact with them.”
The circular trail leads participants around the streets of Old Catton to discover about the lives of the eighteen individuals who never came back from the war.
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One of the people included is Corporal Alan Seager, who was born two months before the end of the First World War and moved from London to Woodcock Road shortly after.
A diligent letter-writer, he joined the Royal Air Force in 1940 and he kept his family up-to-date on his life, often with amusing anecdotes.
He married Barbara Coan on June 8, 1941, before leaving with his squadron for Singapore on June 13. She was not to know that she would never again see her husband of less than a week.
He was captured and taken as a prisoner of war, where he was a noted leader, a care-giver, and was known for his writing, completing several short stories.
He died caring for others, having contracted dysentery and beriberi.
After the war, two letters arrived for his family, including one from his Commanding Officer, who spoke of his bravery, leadership and kindness.
Mrs Carruthers added: “We wanted the village to come together in some form of a shared commemorative experience.
“These people deserve to be more than just names read out on Remembrance Sunday.
“Some of the stories on the trail are quite harrowing, but all of them are important.
“Please take the time to remember and reflect on the tragically short lives of our local heroes.”
People taking part on the trail are being encouraged to leave a poppy as they go, made from the ends of drink bottles and decorated, by the posters they visit.
The organisers have also added Norfolk Poppy Appeal QR codes at the bottom of the posters for people to donate to the Poppy Appeal or to express an interest in joining Old Catton RBL.
A map is available from the Old Catton Parish Council website , Morrisons at The Paddocks, and also in November’s edition of the Old Catton News.
Enquiries about copies of the biographies in the form of a book can also be directed to Old Catton Parish Council.
The project has been funded by local businesses, including its sponsor Ashley Estates, as well as a grant by Old Catton Parish Council.
The trail runs till Remembrance Sunday, November 8.
The fallen on the Old Catton Remembers poppy trail:
Corporal Alan Seager
W/O Dennis Juby
Sgt Thomas Cubitt
Major Raymond Coller
Able Seaman Jack Comer
Corporal Leslie Smith
Sgt Harold Buck
Flight Lt. Gerald Bailey
Private Martin Pugh
Bombardier Richard Hazeli
Master Maxime Jollivet
Capt Michael Gowing
LAC John Smith
Private Daphne Powles
Sgt Kenneth Kemp
Private Robert Watts
Bombadier Walter Smith
Flight Sgt Frederick Moore