Snettisham, a small village in West Norfolk, lost 1 in 6 of its adult male population to WW1. Not a single family, group of friends or aspect of village life was unaffected.
From 1914 to 1918, 45 men from the village lost their lives including Sidney James Auker who was one of the UK's very first casualties. Men were lost as far afield as Canada, Gaza and Egypt and right across Europe.
In the Centenary year the village has come together to say Thank You to the 45 who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Members of the community spent many hours fully researching and publishing their life stories so they are no longer just names on an ageing memorial. This 100th year the village knows more about its 45 lost sons and those they loved and left behind. This record will be kept for future generations.
Members of the village made a solemn undertaking to go out to each and every one of our 45's resting places before the 100th anniversary of the Armistice. This part of the project covers 25 sites across 7 countries and 3 continents. By its conclusion the village will have travelled in excess of 12,500 miles.
To date Snettisham 45 has visited nearly all resting places of the 45, with plans in place for the remaining locations. At each resting place a personal remembrance service is being conducted with a prayer from their local rector and a reading of the soldier's life story. Letters are being left - one 'formal' from the County and Parish and one 'personal' from a child in the village, the children at the village school each 'adopting' one of the '45' as part of their wider learning on war, service and sacrifice - to ensure the baton of remembrance is handed down to this next generation. This is particularly poignant as the village school dates back to 1885 and a great many of the fallen were former pupils. A wreath of 'West Norfolk' Lavender bound in a 'Snettisham Torc' (the village's symbol) is also being placed at each location.
..that even 100 years on we as a community know exactly who you are, exactly where you are and what you did for us and we are still thinking of you
This November 11th Snettisham 45 held a series of major events and have a number of newly identified descendants of the 45 coming as guest of honour. Additionally, Snettisham 45 raised money for the Poppy Appeal as a 'living memorial' to the 45 linking their sacrifice to today's service personnel, veterans and their families - in homage to and to replicate the public fund raising the village undertook to build a memorial immediately after the war which is the focus of the villages Remembrance service today.
To track their progress visit: snettisham-remembers.co.uk