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‘It makes you realise that Great Yarmouth is not a sleepy little town’ - 160 names on rediscovered roll of honour

PUBLISHED: 14:22 28 August 2018

A section from the roll of honour after cleaning Photo:  Lorraine Finch

A section from the roll of honour after cleaning Photo: Lorraine Finch

Lorraine Finch

One hundred years after the end of the First World War a newly discovered and unusual roll of honour is revealing more about Great Yarmouth’s contribution.

The roll of honour before being cleaned Photo: Lorraine FinchThe roll of honour before being cleaned Photo: Lorraine Finch

Mildewed and aged documents found in St John’s Church are exciting heritage fans who say the beautifully written rolls are a gold mine for researchers.

Conservator Lorraine Finch has identified seven pieces as a priority and has been using her expertise to restore them - a painstaking process involving small brushes.

She has been working with the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust on the lottery funded project Stories of St John’s.

The project aims to preserve the archives of the church, to make them accessible to all, and to bring the community together to conserve the archives and research the local people named on them.

Lorraine Finch working on historic documents found at St John's Church in Great Yarmouth Photo:  Azalia Sarkisyan, Great Yarmouth Preservation TrustLorraine Finch working on historic documents found at St John's Church in Great Yarmouth Photo: Azalia Sarkisyan, Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust

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She said: “I am currently conserving seven documents from St John’s Church.

“The most interesting and poignant, given that 2018 is the centenary of the end of the First World War, is the roll of honour.

“It lists all the men from the congregation - over 160 - who served during the conflict.

“It is unusual as it names both those who survived and those who were killed on the battlefields. It is full of age old local names such as Swaddling, Palmer, Brundish, Nicholson and Pownall.

“It divides the men into Navy and Army. There is no Air Force presumably because it was so new (it was formed on April 1 1918).

“The roll of honour is of both local and national importance - one the men went on to serve in the Royal Irish Constabulary and was killed in 1921 during the fight for Irish independence.

“It makes you realise that Great Yarmouth is not a sleepy little town but played a role in most major events in history.”

She said conservation was important because the roll of honour was severely mould damaged and not accessible to anyone.

Now that it is clean it can be handled and viewed.

At one time the roll of honour would have been on proud display in the church but was taken down possibly because of the deterioration.

An exhibition is planned at Skippings in King Street.

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