Booklet tells story of Harleston’s wartime heroes
07:11 30 May 2014
The life stories of nearly 100 men listed on Harleston war memorial are be told in a new booklet released to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
Author Ruth Walton, who lives in Alburgh, has researched the histories of the 97 names listed for the booklet, which will be launched in August.
And she has uncovered some poignant and interesting facts about the soldiers, who include 73 who served in the 1914-1918 conflict and 24 from the Second World War.
She said: “It gives people an idea of the history of the town during that period and also what it was like serving in the forces.
“It details where they lived, what they did and how they contributed to Harleston.
“To think that many of them were just gentle people working the land and to then be involved in such a brutal war, it is hard to imagine how they coped.”
Tragically, three of the names on the list are brothers who were killed within seven months of each other during the First World War – Frederick, John and Stanley Borrett – two of whom died in Palestine and one in France in 1917.
Another soldier who is listed on both the Harleston and Wortwell war memorials is George Dove, whose real name was Robert.
He served with the Sandringham Company from the King’s estate at Sandringham House, where he was a gardener.
The story of how the company suffered heavy losses at Gallipoli in 1915 formed the basis of the television drama All the King’s Men, first broadcast by the BBC in 1999.
Mrs Walton said the trades of the soldiers also revealed a lot about the time and included a grocer’s apprentice, blacksmith, auctioneer’s clerk and domestic groom. The men ranged in age from 18 to 43 and the booklet also details how women took on jobs previously performed by men who were fighting in the war.
Proceeds from the booklet, which costs £5 and will be available in time for the anniversary, will go to the forces’ charity Walking with the Wounded.