First World War Centenary

GWlogoLotteryFundedDo you have a Forncett relative who fought in the Great War of 1914 to 1918? Do you have family memories of these times, a photograph, letters or documents? Do you have any information of life in Forncett during those years?

If so we would love to hear from you - please contact Jackie Scully

Forncett Great War Project Completed

Written by Jackie Lanaway.

GWlogoWith the completion of the Great War Timeline our four year project is coming to an end. The last of the panels from January 1918 to the Armistice of November that year, (plus post-war to June 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed) have joined the rest of the Timeline in its new home at the Norfolk Tank Museum located in Forncett. This is an exciting development for us as it will have a permanent home there which has kindly been offered by Stephen Machaye, Chairman and Curator of the museum. 

Researching details for the Timeline and Forncett Book of Remembrance has been interesting and sobering on what was a tragic journey. Considering the scale of the Great War it would have been impossible to cover all aspects of events that occurred in the conflict. In creating the Timeline we have attempted to show how the Great War affected the villagers of Forncett and we have recorded the recruitment and fate of the Fallen against a background of international and some local events.

It is hoped that our undertaking may inspire others to seek further information on the Great War of 1914 to 1918. It is a moment in history which is gradually disappearing from the consciousness of succeeding generations. For that reason we have completed this project, ”Lest We Forget”. 

Our sincere thanks are extended to all those who participated in research, provided information or supporting material and have contributed to the success of this venture. Forncett Book of Remembrance continues to be displayed in Forncett St Peter and St Mary churches. 

Plans are being made to join in with the Tank Museum Armistice Centenary Commemorations at the Museum on 11th November this year. Further details will be posted nearer the time and in Forncett Flyer.

St Mary’s Church Open Weekend and Forncett Great War Project

Written by May Prior and Jackie Lanaway..

Photos Richard Ball
(click pic for slideshow)

The weekend event of 4th and 5th July was a great success. Visitors were arriving as soon as it opened and did not drift away until after 4pm on both days, an hour after it was scheduled to finish! There was much interest shown in the transformation of St Mary’s church especially from older residents who had known and regularly attended services before closure. One family had particularly fond memories because their parents were married here; the last wedding before closure. May and Graham Prior were in the church to explain renovation work to visitors and were happy that the work was finished in time for their daughter’s wedding a few weeks earlier.

There is a new Colenso exhibition on show together with a bust of the man. John Colenso was a rector of St Mary’s in 1846 before becoming Bishop of Natal (now South Africa) in 1853. This exhibition was curated by John Webster and the bust is on permanent loan to the church.

Photos Richard Ball, except
where captioned otherwise.
(click pic for slideshow)

A lot of interest was also shown in the amount of WW1 memorabilia exhibited on behalf of Forncett History Group’s Great War Project, and Graham was also on hand all weekend to talk to people about them, together with Mike and Bill, two friends, one from the Western Front Association and all enthusiasts. Members of the History Group were also there.

The Timeline has been extended to June 1915 and is now permanently on show here. Work is in progress to complete the year 1915. Also on show were the Book of Remembrance and a DVD of photographs of the men named on Forncett’s war memorials. The highlight of Sunday was Nigel Amies’ appearance as a WW1 infantryman complete with authentic uniform, genuine WW1 drum and various artefacts. As well as demonstrating the equipment such a soldier needed to survive, people were able to handle and even wear objects. Nigel showed he had a very good singing voice and was an excellent drummer and communicator.

Many thanks go to all who lent exhibits, helped with the organisation, and made tea and excellent cakes, all ensuring this was a very successful weekend. We estimate about 200 people attended over the two days.

Forncett Book of Remembrance

Written by John Webster and Jackie Scully.

"The culmination of three to four years research and a year in the planning ..." These crucial words were spoken after the highpoint of Jackie Scully's [now Lanaway] successful completion of her work for the Forncett History Group's major Great War Project. What greater climax could there have been: a Service of Dedication of the Forncett Book of Remembrance by the Bishop of Norwich in the ancient parish church of St Peter on Remembrance Sunday.

photos by Su Leavesley unless otherwise stated.
(click pic for slideshow)

In the last year work has been particularly intense for Jackie and myself, checking texts and planning the layout and overall design, and the assistance of two other members, Susie Rohde and Graham Prior. Our printer, Mike Dawson at Swallowtail Print, was also understanding and helpful. Various technical issues had to be resolved and numerous drafts before the final version was delivered. We feel the final product has done justice to the men we honour now one hundred years on.

Timeline for the Great War launched

Written by John Webster and Jackie Scully.

GWlogoForncett Great War Project and the start of the Timeline was launched on Saturday 2nd August in Forncett St Peter's Church. There was an excellent number of people and a number of interesting things to see - the time line itself, a scrapbook from the First World War and a copy of the Times for the 4th August 1914, among other interesting items. 

(click pic for slideshow)

The Timeline will be in real time and building over a four year period, so initially it will feature the lead up to and the causes of WW1. Gradually information will be fed into this, such as the recruitment of volunteers from the village, snippets of village life at the time, and what was happening in the bigger picture in Norfolk, the country and on the battlefield. Eventually you will be able to track what happened to some of these men, who came home and those who died.

LotteryFundedJune 28th 1914 was the date of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austro-Hungary and his wife in Sarajevo. Was this the cause of WW1 and why did Britain become involved? Who were the first Forncett boys to volunteer? These are some of the answers you will find. We hope that at the end of the Project we will have a record of how WW1 affected the lives of those who lived in Forncett. It is, therefore, important that we receive any information that people may have. Already a number of people have been in touch from around Norfolk who have family members from Forncett who served in the Great War.

Heritage Lottery Fund awards £3,900 to Forncett Great War Project

Written by Jackie Scully.

LotteryFundedGWlogoThe Forncett History Group has received £3,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its Great War Project. Awarded through HLF's "First World War: then and now" programme, the project will focus on the impact of the First World War 1914-1918 on the parishes of Forncett St Mary and Forncett St Peter in South Norfolk.

"To mark the centenary of the First World War, the project will enable local people in the Forncetts to come together to preserve the memories and heritage of the people who lived through the First World War," said John Webster, chairman of Forncett History Group. Volunteers will collect photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, letters and photos of keepsakes, as well as family tales passed down, to help them build a clear picture of what life was really like. These will form the basis of a Time Line displayed in real time and also contribute to the Books of Remembrance for each church honouring those men who gave their lives in time of war.

Forncett Great War Project

Written by Jackie Scully.

Planning of Forncett History Group's major project is continuing and a couple of dates have been entered into the diary.

On Saturday 2nd August the Timeline will be launched. It is planned to situate this in St Mary's Church in the long term, but if renovation work has not been completed by then, the initial launch will be in St Peter's Church. In the evening of the 4th August, at 11pm, a Vigil will be held to commemorate the beginning of the First World War. Candles will be extinguished as a symbol of the then Foreign Secretary, Lord Gray's, remark "The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our time".

On 9th November 2014, Remembrance Sunday, there will be a dedication of the Books of Remembrance by the Bishop of Norwich in St Peter's Church. Although this is centred on those who gave their lives, we will also remember those Forncett men who served and returned; many wounded physically as well as mentally.

To this end we hope that relatives of the survivors as well as the Fallen will attend the service. It must not be forgotten that this service will also be honouring the victims if WW2. The names of a number of men who served in WW1 who did return is listed below, but if you know of others please get in touch as this is important to us. Of course we welcome all those who will wish to attend.

The timing of these events will be published at a later date along with a calendar of other activities we hope to incorporate during the period of commemoration of the Great War.

Known Forncett soldiers who returned:-
Bassingthwaite Charles
Blake Herbert
Brooks Edward
Coleman Arthur
Coleman William
Falgate Arthur
Falgate John William
Falgate Percy
Fryer Samuel
Gostling Claude
Gostling William
Gray Arthur
Gray William
Green Maurice
Harvey Alfred
Hunt William
King John
Lincoln George Charles
Lincoln Himalaya Cubitt
Newman John
Scott William
Sheldrake Horace
Skipper William
Symonds Reginald Edward
Thomas Edwin
Waters Harry

We will be grateful for any help that can be given.

Jackie Scully Co-ordinator of Forncett GWP

Commemoration of the Great War 1914 – 1918

Written by Jackie Scully.

Already ideas are beginning to be formed as to how we in Forncett might get involved in this. One idea is to create a 'timeline' concerning Forncett and its inhabitants during the period of the Great War. It would be in real time, starting at 4th August 1914 with the declaration of war and adding information as it came in; e.g. information regarding enlistment of local boys, news from the Front from letters received back home or recorded in a local magazine, and snippets of local activities arranged to help the war cause etc; and sadly news of the death of a soldier as and when it arrived. This would be interwoven with information on major events happening at the time. The information would provide a picture of how the war affected Forncett people, and could lead to a publication of this material.

There are hopefully people who have items, photographs and handed down memories of Forncett which could be copied and inserted in the timeline. This would include those who served in the War and survived.

I would like to hear from anyone who would like to get involved with this project and/or has material or information regarding Forncett men or people from the time which could be used. Please get in touch. Any original material will be copied and returned.

An ongoing research project into the names on the Forncett St Peter and Forncett St Mary war memorials is nearing completion and this will be part of the Great War commemorations. Plans are being made to have two books dedicated, hopefully on Remembrance Sunday 2014, following which one will be placed in each church.

If you have a relative who is named on either of the memorials and have not been in touch regarding this, I would like to hear from you. For those of you who have already contacted me I will be letting you know future developments.

Jackie Scully