Jennifer will never let us forget

THEY lost their lives in battle but their names will live on.As Remembrance Day approaches, former history teacher Jennifer Jones says she is moved to tears when she recalls wording on the graves of the young men who lost their lives in the World War One atrocities.

By Amanda Cresswell

THEY lost their lives in battle but their names will live on.

As Remembrance Day approaches, former history teacher Jennifer Jones says she is moved to tears when she recalls wording on the graves of the young men who lost their lives in the World War One atrocities.

Over the past year Mrs Jones, from Copdock, researched burial sites of the Great War fallen from six Suffolk villages. The result was a booklet in tribute to the 74 dead, which she will give to each of the parishes before Remembrance Sunday.

"This really a way of recording World War One before anybody forgets," said Mrs Jones, 73. "There has been an enormous amount of revival in interest of World War One, mainly because of the national curriculum, but my generation really knew its effect on society.

"On Remembrance Day I remember the members of staff weeping around me because they were the women who lost their fiancés and weren't going to marry because that generation of men were wiped out.

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"The young people today, this generation, have no personal memory of the loss caused by war. My husband Peter and I were born in 1929, ten years after the end of the First World War and ten years before the outbreak of the second."

In June this year Mrs Jones visited the Somme with her husband to put a poppy cross on some of the graves and laid a wreath at the memorial of the missing at Thiepval, recorded on video.

The fallen included 12 from Belstead, 15 from Bentley, seven from Burstall, nine from Copdock and Washbrook, 16 from Sproughton and 15 from Tattingstone.

Of these, 26 have no known grave and seven are buried in the village churchyards.

Along with the names of the dead, date of death, age and place of burial, the booklets contains photographs of Mrs Jones' visit to The Somme. There are also added pictures of the village war memorials and rolls of honour with names of the survivors.

The most moving for Mrs Jones in her travels was a grave of a man in his early 20's at No Man's Land in the Somme's Queens Cemetery, which carried the words: "Still lives, still loved, still ours, mam and dad." Another was on the grave of a German soldier, with the words: "I have called him by his name, you are mine."

"They were so young, all of them who died out there," said Mrs Jones, who gives talks entitled: "Thank you for my life: a laywoman's journey through 1916.

"I wanted to do this in their honour and to bring these men home to be remembered for generations."

Her talks came about after she won a bursary – the European Award for the Suffolk East Federation of Womens' Institute – to study the topic five years ago.

Thank you for my life, was taken from a son's entry in a visitors' book in tribute to his father killed in the war.

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