New project to remember the Snettisham 45, who fell in the First World War
A village which lost one in six of its young men to the First World War is pledging to remember them all.
Forty-five villagers from Snettisham lost their lives in the 1914 - 18 conflict.
Today a remembrance project to honour them all was launched at the towering St Mary’s Church.
Rev Paul Neimeic, rural dean of Heacham and Rising, said: “We’re here to remember the history of our village. We’re here to remember those who gave their lives that we might be free.” County councillor and project lead Stuart Dark said not one family in the village emerged untouched from the war.
“The parish council and villagers wanted to do something to really reaffirm our commitment to the 45 who gave their all for us,” he said.
The stories of each of the fallen will be researched and told on a special website. Villagers will also pay their respects at the graves of all those who fell in foreign fields.
Team rector the Rev Veronica Wilson will lead prayers at 25 sites in seven countries, before laying a wreath of Norfolk lavender and rosemary in the shape of a Snettisham torc.
Personal letters from children at the village school - which many of the fallen attended - will also be placed at their graves.
The project will also raise funds for the Royal British Legion and Scotty’s Little Soldiers.
“One hundred years on from our 45, we still have military and ex-military personnel in need of our compassion and support,” said Mr Dark.
“We earnestly hope that people will be inspired by the scope and ambition of the project and will donate to these great military charities via our Just Giving page.”
Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson, said the project was “truly inspiring”.
He added: “I can see why the Royal British Legion is using your work as a beacon of excellence for others across the UK.”
Outside church, a large crowd watched as Rev Wilson led an act of remembrance at the graves of two of the 45 - Sidney Mitchell and Jacob Flatt.
Wreaths were laid by the Lord Lieutenant and West Norfolk Mayor Carol Bower.
The project to remember the 45 will culminate in a service of remembrance at St Mary’s on November 11.
To donate, go to www.justgiving.com and search Snettisham 45.