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FORNCETT ST MARY WAR MEMORIAL

World War 1 & 2 - Detailed Information
Compiled and Copyright © Raymond Harvey 2004

The War memorial stands beside a derelict church in Forncett St Mary.

Photographs Copyright © Raymond Harvey 2004

TO THE
GLORY OF GOD
AND TO COMMEMORATE
THE VALOUR OF THE
MEN OF THIS PARISH
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES
AND OF ALL THOSE WHO
FREELY OFFERED THEM
IN DEFENCE OF RIGHT
AND IN THE SERVICE OF
THEIR KING AND COUNTRY
IN THE
GREAT WAR
1914-1918

BROOKS

Walter E G

Private 20630, 9th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment. Killed in action 24th August 1916. Born Forncett St Peter, enlisted Bury St Edmunds, resident Stowmarket. No known grave. Commemorated on Thirpval Memorial, Somme, France. Pier and Face 6 B and 6 C.

BROOKS

Charles Henry

Private 17861, 7th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. Killed in action 14th October 1917. Aged 19. Born Eaton, enlisted Norwich. Son of Nathan and Eleanor Brooks, of Forncett St. Mary, Norwich. No known grave. Commemorated on Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France. Bay 3.

COLEMAN

George Arthur

Private G/51419, 16th Battalion, Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment). Killed in action 28th February 1917. Aged 18. Born Carlton Rode, enlisted Norwich, resident Long Stratton. Son of Arthur and Laura Fiske Coleman, of Low Road, Forncett St. Mary, Norwich. Buried in Sailly-Saillisel British Cemetery, Somme, France. Plot VI. Rw C. Grave 1.

GREY

Percival

[Spelt GRAY on SDGW & CWGC] Private 13012, 1st Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. Killed in action 28th September 1915. Born Forncett, enlisted Norwich. Buried in Citadel New Military Cemetery, Fricourt, Somme, France. Plot III. Row A. Grave 11.

HARVEY

Herbert

Private H HarveyPrivate 3/1023, 9th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. Killed in action 1st May 1917. Aged 29. Born Forncett, enlisted Norwich. Son of Edmund Harvey, of Forncett St. Mary, Norwich. No known grave Commemorated on Loos Memorial, Pas de Calais, France. Panel 30-31.

Herbert fell with 20 other men from his Battalion that day. One of those killed was Frederick Lincoln, who had the same prefix 3/ before his service number. This confirms that both he and Herbert enlisted in the 3rd Reserve Battalion, which remained in Britain during WW1. This Battalion, stationed at Harwich, trained men to send out to the three regular battalions in the Norfolk Regiment (1st, 2nd & 3rd), so it’s unusual that Herbert and Frederick found them selves in the 9th. Frederick was also from Norfolk and he too enlisted at Norwich. He too has no known grave and is commemorated on the same panel as Herbert.

At the time of Herbert's death, his Battalion was with the 6th Division who were in the Arras sector. Historians tend to mark battles by the ratio of losses and as such, there is no recorded action for the 9th Battalion until the battle for Hill 70 in the August of that year. However, as we can see, men fought and died throughout each and every week. 20 men from one Battalion would make International news today....then, it would get no further than the Battalion Diaries......and even then, the men wouldn't warrant being named!!

The 9th were a service Battalion and were formed in September 1914. That same month they attached to 24th Division and shipped to France, but in October 1915 they transferred to the 6th Division, who had been decimated reinforcing the shattered B.E.F.

LUDKIN

William Edward

Private 13266, 1st Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. Killed in action 4th June 1916. Born Forncett, enlisted Norwich. Buried in Faubourg D'Amiens Cemetery, Arras, Pas de Calais, France. Plot I. Row C. Grave 53.

William fell with 34 of his comrades from the 1st Battalion that day. Coincidentally, one of those to fall with William was Edward Harry Lincoln, also from Norfolk and enlisting at Norwich and as like Herbert Harvey and Frederick Lincoln, Edward had enlisted in the 3rd Reserve Battalion.

The 1st Battalion were Regular Army soldiers and had moved with their Division, the 5th, as soon as War had been declared. They were one of the first Divisions over in France and took the brunt of the early fighting at Mons. Their rifle rate of fire was mistaken by the Germans as multiple Machine Guns! They fought a rearguard action throughout August and September, suffering staggering losses, but inflicting equally staggering losses to pursuing Germans.

At the time of William's death the Division were in the Front lines awaiting the 'big push" on the Somme 1916. They had been fighting throughout 1914-15 and had just moved from Ypres and the 2nd Defence there. Sporadic fighting never relented during the build up on The Somme, but like Herbert, because the Division were not in official action, it is not recorded as major fghting.

It is likely that William's death may have been the result of Artillery exchanges or raiding party fighting. No Officers are recorded as dying that day.

RAMM

Edward Freeman

Private 20623, 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment. Died at sea 13th August 1915 at Gallipoli. Born Houghton, Norfolk, enlisted Norwich, resident Forncett St Mary. Formerly 18857, Norfolk Regiment. No known grave. Commemorated on Helles Memorial, Turkey. Panel 144 to 150 or 229 to 233.

SHELDRAKE

John [W]

Private 14849, 9th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. Killed in action 2nd October 1917. Aged 29. Born Hapton, enlisted Norwich. Son of Mr. T. Sheldrake, of Hapton, Norfolk. Buried in Maroc British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Plot II. Row M. Grave 14.

R.I.P.

"BE THOU FAITHFULL UNTO DEATH AND I WILL
GIVE THEE A CROWN OF LIFE."

1939-1945

DRAKE

Reginald Victor

Private 5779562, 5th Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment. Died 6th July 1943. Aged 23. Buried in Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand. Plot 2. Row N. Grave 9.

GREEN

Thomas Edward

Ordinary Seaman P/JX 518572, H.M.S. Collingwood, Royal Navy. Died 18th June 1943. Aged 35. Son of John and Emily Green, of Forncett st. Mary; husband of Alexandra Nell Green, of Wreningham. Buried in Forncett St Mary Churchyard, Forncett, Norfolk.

HARVEY

Raymond Alfred

Private, 4th Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment. Died at sea 15th September 1944. while aborard the Japanese prison ship, Rakuyu Maru, which was torpedoed by USS Sealion an American submarine. Born and enlisted Norwich. Commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore. Column 50.

For more information on the Rakuyu Maru see the FEPOW pages.

14 December 2004

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