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Village oak tree to become permanent memorial to First World War

PUBLISHED: 16:52 06 December 2018 | UPDATED: 20:08 06 December 2018

The memorial service will be held in Debach on Sunday afternoon Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The memorial service will be held in Debach on Sunday afternoon Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Archant

An oak tree in the village of Debach is set to become a permanent memorial to those who fought during the First World War.

The villages of Debach and Boulge, near Woodbridge, will also commemorate their local soldiers with a special dedication service this weekend.

The oak tree, which is around 50-years-old, sits on the former site of a Primitive Methodist Chapel.

Ordnance Survey records from 1903 suggest that the site later became a reading room and continued to be used up until the 1960s.

Although the building then fell into disrepair the service’s organisers believe the historical links made it the perfect place for a memorial as the site would have been well known to those who left for war and who may have used it.

Chair of the parish meeting Beth Taylor said it was a “miracle” that the tree had seeded itself in such a poignant position in Debach.

As well as the tree itself the village hopes to install a place for people to sit by the tree in the next few months.

It will have a view that would have been well known by the soldiers of the area.

“There will be a seat put with the oak tree facing across the fields,” explained Mrs Taylor.

“We thought the men who lost their lives would have known these fields and worked in them.”

She said that it was important for the village to dedicate the memorial before the end of the year to coincide with the centenary of the First World War.

She said: “It seemed to be a good thing to do.

“We are going to plant some poppies and other wild flowers.”

The service itself will be led by Reverend Canon Clare Sander from Grundisburgh.

During the ceremony a poem by English poet A.E. Housman will be read out.

The poem, titled Is My Team Ploughing, is part of a collection known of pieces known as A Shropshire Lad.

Despite the name, organisers believe that many of the poem’s themes are still relevant to Suffolk soldiers.

They hope that relatives of service personnel from Debach and Boulge will be able attend the ceremony.

“It would be wonderful to see them,” added Mrs Taylor.

The service will take place on Sunday, December 9 at 2.30pm, on Woodbridge Road in the village.

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