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Village’s special remembrance service welcomes descendants of First World War casualties

PUBLISHED: 09:08 15 November 2018

The war memorial at Kessingland churchyard. Picture: Nick Butcher

The war memorial at Kessingland churchyard. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

The Kessingland community turned out to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, which ended the First World War on the Western Front.

The Service of Remembrance on Sunday was conducted by the Rector of St Edmunds Church, Rev Janet Wyer, and started at the village’s war memorial with the chairman of Kessingland Parish Council, Liam Martin, reading out all of the names of those that gave their lives in serving their country.

This was followed by the two minutes silence, the playing of the Last Post and the laying of wreaths.

The service continued inside a packed St Edmunds Church, which included relatives of some of those named on the memorial, invited as guests of the Parish Council and the Parochial Church Council.

Three young girls from the Guides and Brownies read out the opening sentences of the service. It also included a reading from the bible by parish councillor Stephen James and one of the family representatives, Simon Roberts, read the poem “For The Fallen” by Laurence Binyon.

In the months leading up to the service, Margaret Thurston – the grand-daughter of Percy Block – came forward with some letters written by her grandfather. One of those letters was dated November 15, 1916, Percy was killed in action on November 18 and his name is remembered on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Monument at Thiepval in France, the location of the Battle of the Somme.

The letter was read out as part of the Rector’s address to the congregation. The letter written to his wife and children was one of love for his family and hope for the future.

Mr Martin said: “It was the most poignant moment in the whole service, and brought home to all those present the personal loss of those who died in the service of their country.”

At the end of the service ended the congregation were invited to join the family members – who were special invited guests for the day – to a meet and greet reception at the Church Centre.

Here the invited guests were presented with a certificate from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission which related to their family member who was killed in action during the war.

A Parish Council spokesman thanked all those who were involved in Sunday’s Remembrance Service, adding “it was a credit to the community that so many turned out to remember and respect those from Kessingland who gave their lives in the First World War in the service of their country.”

The Womens Institute were also thanked for “their marvellous display of handmade poppies” that adorned the front of the altar in the church, while members of Access Community Trust – who provided the refreshments after the service – were praised.

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