Dedication of War Memorial

The war memorial was dedicated on the afternoon of Sunday 5 June 1921 by the Bishop of Norwich and unveiled by Mrs. Campbell Steward. Mrs Campbell Steward had been greatly involved in its design, having suggested it should be based on the Market Cross in Castle Combe.

The service of dedication began in St Mary the Virgin Church. The bells rang half muffled and a flag flew from the tower. It seemed as if the whole population of the village was there and the church was packed. The format of the service is said to have been the same as that which other Norfolk parishes had used when they dedicated their memorials. The Reverend H. Hicks, rector of the parish, and his predecessor Reverend R.W. Pitt shared in saying the prayers. The congregation, led by the choir, sang several hymns including “The Saints of God” and also the 121st Psalm. Mr. W. Dix, who represented the Nonconformists in the area, read a passage from the Book of Wisdom. After this the Bishop of Norwich attended by his chaplain, Reverend W. Brown, gave an address. The service ended with the hymn “Through the night of doubt and sorrow”, during the singing of which the congregation left the church into the sunshine. The congregation processed to the war memorial. The procession was lead by the choir, the clergy, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Guides and a large party of ex-service men.  Hundreds of parishioners then followed.

At the memorial they sang two further hymns “O God our help in ages past” and “For All the Saints” between which further prayers were said. Mrs Campbell Steward then drew away a flag which covered the bronze plaque listing the names of the dead.

Unveiling of bronze plaque

Reverend Pitt read out their names. The Bishop then dedicated the memorial. The ceremony ended with the playing of the “The Last Post” and the “Reveille”.


Relatives of the dead dressed in mourning clothes then came forward one by one and laid flowers at the foot of the memorial. This was a very moving part of the ceremony.


After the service Mrs Campbell Steward provided afternoon tea at Saxlingham Old Hall for over a hundred of the villagers who had been involved in the memorial project. These included the ex-service men, the Guides, the Scouts and many others. Tables were laid out with food in the grounds of the house. A report of the building and the dedication was reported in the local newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, on 6 June 1921. The reporter considered the building of the memorial to have been a singular venture of parochial co-operation. The photographs on this page are taken from Mrs. Campbell Steward’s  photograph album.

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