July 2018

Kirton and Falkenham Women’s Institute
Next meeting: Thursday 9th August at 2.00 pm hosted by Pauline Topple (please contact Chris Welling – see below- if you need the address). This month we will be sharing a strawberry tea. There will be a charge of £2.50. There will also be books, produce, plants and a bring and buy table. All proceeds will be donated to the Blossom Appeal.
The Blossom Appeal is raising money to build a modern Breast Care Centre at Ipswich Hospital. There is more information about the charity at: www.ipswichhospitalcharity.co.uk/blossom

July meeting report:

The centenary of the First World War has caused many of us to reflect on those dreadful events and the sacrifice of the men who fought in the Great War. Ted Payne had promised his mother that he would visit the grave of his Great Uncle, George Dyson (her favourite brother) and in 2014 climbed on his trusty motorbike and crossed to Holland from Harwich. He also pledged to visit the graves and memorials of the men from Kirton and Falkenham who are commemorated on our War Memorials.
Ted told us of his journey; he visited Lijssenhock; the Menin Gate; Arras and Thiepval. There are smaller cemeteries in the corners of fields and farm yards as men were buried where they fell- one cemetery – Serre Road Cemetry number three is hidden away down a lane. All the cemeteries, large and small are in immaculate condition. Ted was impressed by the care taken of the graves and the respect shown to the men that are remembered there. On one occasion he noticed that the gardeners stopped mowing the grass whilst he was placing a cross and waited until he had left before resuming.
Ted found the graves (and where there were no graves, the names inscribed on the memorials) and laid a cross at each location. At Lijssenhock, he found the records of his Great Uncle’s death from wounds sustained in battle at Ypres. There he also found the grave of the only female buried at Lijssenhock, a nurse named Nellie Spindler-although Chinese labourers (employed to dig trenches and graves during the war) claim that they buried several other women when they were working there.
The numbers of the dead and their youth is shocking. 10,121 graves at Lijssenhock; 72,000 at Thiepval; 36,000 names recorded at Arras; 55,000 names at Menin Gate- 33 at the grave yard at Serre Road. These men are not forgotten. Every evening at the Menin Gate at 8.00 p.m. a service is held to commemorate those remembered there and the Last Post is played. On a smaller scale but just as affecting was the film that Ted showed us of a fellow pilgrim who he met at Thiepval. Dave played the Last Post on a cold and blustery evening overlooking graves that stretched away into the distance, with his daughter and Ted the only onlookers.
Ted wrote this poem:
I walk among the graves
Just the wind in the trees
Echo the cries of the dead
And wounded
Remembered by loved ones
Our Boy; In our thoughts;
First last and always;
Only son of
Caring Father
Your will be done
Sleep on dear one
You did your duty nobly
Splendid you passed
The great surrender made
Memory is the only friend
That grief can call its own
Set in stone
Dominoes,
Played in a smoky pub
Before the war,
Perhaps.
With pals over a pint or two,
But these stories tell another story,
One we too often forget.
Too many lives lost
Too many orphans made
Too many telegram to widows
Given
Too many wars.

Ted has been researching the stories of the men from Kirton and Falkenham who served in the First World War. He has an intriguing photograph of a group who returned and is keen to hear from anyone who has memories or information that will add to the history of the part our villages played in the War.

An outing is planned:
6th September: Huntingfield Church; guided tour followed by a pub lunch
New members are always welcome; contact our secretary: Chris Welling 01473 736255

K.Cade V.Bines