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Almost 70 years on, village gets war memorial

12 September 2014

terry woods

The Last Post: Royal British Legion trumpeters at the new war memorial

The Last Post: Royal British Legion trumpeters at the new war memorial

WHEN the Second World War ended, parishioners in the village of Doddinghurst, near Brentwood, in Essex, were faced with a stark choice: repair the bomb-damaged stained-glass windows of All Saints' Church, or else erect a memorial to the local victims of the conflict.

It was eventually agreed that their limited funds should be spent on repairing the church. But, in 2012, two villagers, Caroline Seville and Gail Farrow, decided that the war-memorial project should be resurrected, and they set up a committee to raise the £14,640 needed to build it. Last weekend, their project was completed when the Archdeacon of Chelmsford, the Ven. David Lowman, dedicated a new monument in the church grounds.

Mrs Seville said: "The churchyard is in the centre of the village, and a public footpath runs right through it. People could see graves of casualties from World War Two, and kept asking why there was no memorial.

"We did some research, and found that we were one of only a very few villages of our size - we have a population of around 7000 - that didn't have a memorial. There was a plaque inside the church for the dead of World War One, but nothing else."

Now the names of the ten parishioners who were killed between 1914 and 1918, and the 11 servicemen and civilians who were killed between 1939 and 1945, are all inscribed on the new memorial.

They include Lt John Allen, son of the then Rector of Doddinghurst, the Revd Francis Allen. He was killed during the Normandy landings in 1944. "His father was so crushed by his death that he couldn't stay on at Doddinghurst," Mrs Seville said.

One of the committee, Laurie Gray, traced several of the casualties' relatives, and invited them to the service.

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