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Harleston War Memorial

The memorial which was erected in Broad Street near St. John’s Church takes the form of a Celtic Cross of Cornish grey granite decorated with carved animals in the top section and entwined snakes on the arms of the cross and down the shaft forming the knotwork design.

The two stone pillars guarding the steps leading up to the war memorial, originally protected the Town's Water Trough when it stood in the Market Place whilst the railings surrounding the memorial were removed in the 1940s.

The front panel bears the inscription ‘To the glorious memory of the Redenhall with Harleston and Wortwell men who fell in the Great war 1914-1918’. The total of 98 names includes 73 men who lost their lives during World War One and after the end of World War Two, a granite slab was added with the additional names of the 24 men who lost their lives and Henry Ward, Norfolk’s first Victoria Cross holder.

Our Heroes died all over the globe: not only in France or Flanders but in the Far and Middle East, one even off the coast of Africa. Many died in the disastrous campaign in Gallipoli, including one in the ‘lost’ Sandringham unit whose fate has been dramatized in the film ‘The Kings Men’, three others of our men, all in the same unit died on the same day in battle, also in Gallipoli.

One soldier died at sea when his troop carrier was sunk, some died in or plummeting from the air, for others we will never know the details of their last hours or minutes; many bodies still lie anonymous in the rich fields of France and Flanders or the dry dust of Turkey. Possibly the cruellest deaths were those of the men captured in the Far East; worked to death and brutally treated, they perished in tragically high numbers whilst their families at home assumed them to be safe as Prisoners of War.

Others died of sickness; one of our Heroes within weeks of enlisting before he had really started his training, another in a German prisoner of war camp just a day or two before the Armistice. Whether as a prisoner, due to a minor but infected wound, from tuberculosis worsened by exposure to poison gas, in the heat of battle or the chill of the ocean.


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