Cobholm memorial plans take shape

EFFORTS to create a new memorial paying tribute to the war dead in Great Yarmouth are set come a step closer to fruition, despite a strange historical discovery.

Last August, an appeal was launched in the Mercury to find out more about those killed from the first world war onwards from around Cobholm ahead of plans to create a new memorial on the grounds of St Luke’s Church.

Now, hopes are that a proposal to the church commissioners for the work will be made within the next few weeks, enabling something more conspicuous than the memorial by the village sign by Mill Road.

However, Norfolk County councillor for the area, Rex Parkinson-Hare, said that changes might have to be made to any design after researchers stumbled on a curious bit of archive from a certain newspaper.

“We’re trying to put together a memorial with all possible names on it but there’s a bit of a puzzle, because we have discovered in a copy of the Mercury dated 1917, there’s a photo and quite a long article regarding a memorial being erected in Cobholm School playground.”

The old memorial has long been hunted by the group but never recovered after disappearing decades ago, while previous efforts to fence off the current Mill Road marker have met planning problems.

“What’s quite curious about the memorial is that it was built long before the end of the first world war, and that it said there were 730 men on the memorial, of which 53 had died.”

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Mr Parkinson-Hare said that following this, and research difficulties into the local war dead, a design which allowed new names to be added would be appropriate.

“We could wait forever, but we should start off with one with about 60 names. It’s proving difficult, but we’ve not given up” he added.

Equally determined about the memorial, which could take the form of a plaque on the outer church wall or a separate tribute on the grounds, is chairman of the local residents’ association Frank Esherwood.

He said that though the campaign, which is likely to benefit from some borough council funding, had slowed in recent months “we’ve got to push it forward – there’s no two ways about it.”

l Those with information about the old memorial or those killed during war from the area can contact Holly Notcutt, part of the borough council’s Make it Happen project, on 01493 601202.