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Village remembers soldier who died in Iraq 100 years ago

PUBLISHED: 14:27 13 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:05 13 September 2017

Private Charles Steward. Picture: St Andrew’s/Ryburgh Remembers.

Private Charles Steward. Picture: St Andrew’s/Ryburgh Remembers.

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A soldier who died 100 years ago will be fondly remembered in the village where he was born this month.

The community of Great Ryburgh, near Fakenham, will come together to remember Private Charles Thomas Steward on Thursday, September 28.

The commemoration will be the 26th in the series remembering each of the fallen from the parish. It will feature a three-hour peal set to be rung at St Andrew’s Church and a special window display at Ryburgh Community Shop.

Shop manager Moira Meierhofer said: “We’re delighted to play a small part in our community project and hope customers and passersby will take a moment to reflect on the display.”

Peter Trent who is co-ordinating each of the peals added: “Visitors are welcome to see all the Ryburgh WW1 biographies in St Andrew’s Church and enjoy a cup of tea and slice of cake during the peal.”

Pte Steward was born in Great Ryburgh on June 6, 1883, the sixth of Robert Steward and Ann Wilkin’s eight children.

Ryburgh Remembers has unearthed two photographs featuring Charles from 1905 and 1915, the first as part of a successful Ryburgh sports team, the second in military uniform.

He married Laura Jane Hooke at Rougham Parish Church on April 6, 1912.

On December 3, 1915 aged 32, Mr Steward was employed as a fireman at F&G Smiths Maltings.

Two days after his 33rd birthday, Pte Steward was mobilised into the 2 Battalion Norfolk Regiment. On October 15, 1916 he embarked for Mesopotamia at Devonport en route to Sheikh Sa’ad via Basra arriving in what is now Iraq.

Pte Steward died in 1917 of bronco pneumonia. He is buried in Baghdad.

Researcher Steve Bushby said: “We believe some of Charles’ nephews and nieces lived in Fakenham, Hunstanton, and King’s Lynn. If any of their descendants would like to join us on the day or help enhance Pte Steward’s biography we’d appreciate hearing from them.”

Anyone with information on the descendants of Pte Steward, or who can help Ryburgh Remembers to commemorate the fallen, can contact Mr Bushby on 07760 451755.

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