Remembrance 2016: How authors’ new book shines a light on the little-known ‘fallen 50’ from Suffolk village of Wrentham

Rosie Carter and Gillian O'Brien have written a book about Wrentham's 'fallen 50'. Picture: James Ba

Rosie Carter and Gillian O'Brien have written a book about Wrentham's 'fallen 50'. Picture: James Bass - Credit: James Bass

They were the unknown 'stories of the ordinary men on the street' from a remote coastal village who gave their lives in the service of Queen and country.

Wrentham's Fallen Fifty

Wrentham's Fallen Fifty - Credit: Archant

But now, two residents have shined a light on the previously hidden tales of incredible sacrifice in a comprehensive new book about their village's 'fallen 50'.

Wrentham's Rosie Carter and her cousin Gillian O'Brien began researching the names listed on the village's war memorial because they 'thought it was important we both commemorate them and find out a bit more about them'. But they soon spotted that the names did not match with those on a separate memorial at Wrentham Village Hall.

Their research soon found there were actually 10 names missing from the records.

So they set out to create a comprehensive list of everyone who died during the two conflicts, as well as details about their lives.

An exhibition of Wrentham's 'fallen 50' was held last year.

An exhibition of Wrentham's 'fallen 50' was held last year. - Credit: Nick Butcher


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'The motivation was wondering who they were and doing so uncovered other ones missing,' Mrs Carter said.

'We decided we would find out as much as we could through family trees.'

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With common names such as Girling, Mortimer, Pleasants and Thrower, the pair were able to trace their descendents and in many cases find historic photos and stories from their lives.

An extensive display was held at Wrentham Village Hall in July 2015 – but such as the popularity of the event that Mrs Carter and Mrs O'Brien wanted to create a more permanent record of the incredible sacrifices.

Their new full colour book, published this month, has even more information and photographs of those affected – and gives an insight into how the Suffolk village coped with the ultimate tragedy.

'I don't think there's a family that was untouched by the wars,' Mrs Carter said, who spent a further 18 months researching for the book.

'There was a lot of heartache and anguish where people lost loved ones and didn't know what had happened to them for a significant period of time.

'There was a lot of shared grief – everyone knew someone who had lost someone. It was pretty bleak times.

'Whilst we had no-one who was decorated and none got to a particularly high rank, there were fishermen and trawlers.

This is the story of the man on the street.'

'History if important to a lot of people and they like to know the stories behind the area. Everyone seemed to like the historical aspect of the exhibition.'

Copies of the book are available by calling Mrs Carter on 01502 675222 or email rcarter@talktalk.net

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