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Fundraising to see missing ‘e’ added to war hero’s surname ahead of service

PUBLISHED: 15:46 27 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:15 27 October 2018

James Browne's correct name on the new look war memorial
Picture; Carol Rowe

James Browne's correct name on the new look war memorial Picture; Carol Rowe

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For years he had been honoured - but there was always something missing.

Relatives of Private James Brown with the old incorrect war memorial at Hemblington church
Picture: Susan RoweRelatives of Private James Brown with the old incorrect war memorial at Hemblington church Picture: Susan Rowe

At All Saints Church in Hemblignton, near Acle, a war memorial pays tribute to private James Browne, a gamekeeper who lost his life in the Battle of the Somme in 1916 at the age of 34.

But his name had been spelt wrong - with the letter e missing from his surname.

So after a fundraising campaign, local stonemasons added the missing letter to the memorial, which will now be dedicated at a special service on Armistice Day.

Susan Rowe, secretary of the Friends of All Saints Church, said: “The centenary of the Armistice has encouraged many churches and other groups to commemorate those who fought, and many of who died, during the war.

James Browne's son Arthur with his family outside their house at bottom of Hemblington Hill. Photo: ArchiveJames Browne's son Arthur with his family outside their house at bottom of Hemblington Hill. Photo: Archive

“It also inspired the congregation at All Saints Church to fundraise to amend the war memorial as the surname of one combatant had been wrongly spelt when it was first commissioned.

“Private James Browne, who died in the Battle of The Somme in 1916, had the final e of his name omitted. It was therefore decided, with the wholehearted support of the family, who still live locally, to ask local stonemasons to add the missing letter e.

“This has been done, and the memorial will be rededicated by the rector, Rev Kevin Billson, at the service of remembrance at 9.30am on Sunday, November 11.”

On November 11 the church will also be taking part in the national Armistice Day commemorative event Battle’s Over.

Hemblington church. Photo: Norwich dioceseHemblington church. Photo: Norwich diocese

Congregation member Rory Marsden will pipe When the Battle’s O’er at 6am, which will be followed by an open invite light breakfast before the service at 9.30am.

Residents of Blofield Heath and Hemblington will continue the commemoration at Heathlands Community Centre from 2.30pm with family memories of the conflict being re-told and poems and an afternoon tea.

Then at 6.55pm at Heathlands the Last Post will be sounded and a Battle’s Over beacon will be lit at 7pm.

The church has also celebrated the centenary by holding an exhibition in a tent that featured local parishioners who died in the war and a Battle of the Somme display.

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