Villagers pledge to remember at rededication of war memorial

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The rededication at Hilgay War Memorial - Credit: Chris Bishop

Villagers tuned out in droves for the rededication of their community's war memorial.

The monument records the names of the 46 lost sons from the village of Hilgay, near Downham Market,  in the first and second world wars, along with six of the eight-strong crew of an American B17 bomber, which crashed near the village in 1945.

Downham and district Royal British Legion branch president Peter Mouncer read out them all after Fr James Mather lead prayers.

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Scenes from the rededication of Hilgay War Memorial - Credit: Chris Bishop

After the Last Post, county RBL president Hugh King said: "They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.

"Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember."


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Wreaths were laid after the two-minute silence. 

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Lt Col Sarah Bowles from RAF Lakenheath lays the first wreath - Credit: Chris Bishop

The first was placed by Lt Col Sarah Bowles, on behalf of the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath.

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 "This event is an exemplar of our special alliance," she said. "On this day, particularly, which is special for Americans and the whole world."

Lt Col Bowles, from Arizona, said her great uncle was lost in  B17 crash. She added; "It's part of my family, it's part of why I serve."

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Horace Cross, 92, lays a wreath at the rededication of Hilgay War Memorial - Credit: Chris Bishop

A wreath was also laid by Horace Cross MBE, the Downham legion's oldest member. The 92-year-old, who served in the Royal Artillery from 1947 - 50, said: "I enjoyed every minute of it."

Wreaths were also laid on behalf of RAF Marham and Norfolk police, before Mr King recited the Kohima Epitaph and the crowd responded: "We will not break faith with you."

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Children from the Riverside Academy sing at the rededication of Hilgay War Memorial - Credit: Chris Bishop

Children from the Riverside Academy then sang, before the party moved on to All Saints Church for refreshments and a concert by the Hilgay Silver Band.

The memorial was cleaned and restored earlier this year. The work included new foundations to support the imposing cross and the replacement of stones which had become damaged over the years..

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Members of the Royal British Legion at the newly rededicated war memorial at Hilgay - Credit: Chris Bishop


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