Pupils from Belfry Primary School attended Cromer War Memorial on Friday 10 March 2017 to lay a wreath to commemorate local soldiers who fell in the Battle of Gaza in April 1917.
Fifty pupils from the school have been researching soldiers from Overstrand and across North Norfolk with local military historian Neil Storey and Tim Bennet, author of Overstrand in the Great War.
Pupils have been learning about the roots and fates of local soldiers as well as learning about conditions on the frontline and how life was changed back at home by examining costumes, objects and written accounts.
The students created a roll of honour for 367 men from the 4th and 5th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment who died on 19 April 1917 in the second Battle of Gaza. This will form part of an exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gaza.
Sarah Power, Events & Learning Manager at The Forum, Norwich, said: “This project has been particularly poignant for the young people as 17 former Belfry boys lost their lives in the First World War. The children have learned these are not just names, they are local people who grew up in the area 100 years ago. This project is teaching the pupils about the local soldiers who fought in The Battle of Gaza, their families, and what a remarkable generation they were.”
This forms part of a community project by The Forum in Norwich called ‘Norfolk in the First World War: Somme to Armistice’ which honours Norfolk’s First World War heroes and runs until November 2018 with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. All of the research and learning from the project will culminate in a Battle of Gaza exhibition starting at The Forum and the Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library on 18 April 2017. Following this, the exhibition and an accompanying film will go on tour to other schools and community venues around the county.
The Forum’s project shares the stories of our local heroes – both men and women – so their names, life experiences and sacrifices are acknowledged and remembered by new generations. The project commemorates the lives of the fallen and those who returned back home via dedicated school and learning programmes, adult volunteer-led projects, public talks, events and exhibitions.