MIDDLETON COMMEMORATES ARMISTICE CENTENARY

BRINGING THE COMMUNITY TOGETHER

The commemorations were the initiative of Chris Dixon who brought together a group of local residents to devise and implement the various events. Many thanks to him and to the other members of the group: Clive Rainbird, Chris Hudson, Mick Porter (Middleton Parish Council), Revd. Riaz Mubarak (Middlewinch Benefice), Janet Eason and Alison South. The group, on behalf of the whole community, would like to take this opportunity to extend profuse thanks to all those whose very generous donations made the commemorations possible. They were the Middleton Parish Pit Charity, Middleton Aggregates, Sibelco (King’s Lynn) and Steve Hutton of Middletons Steakhouse and Grill.

The First World War ended one hundred years ago on 11 November 1918. Peace at last after a long and brutal conflict. Estimates vary, but the war resulted in about 20 million deaths and 21 million wounded. Of those killed, roughly half were military personnel and half were civilians. In the United Kingdom, about 6 million men were mobilised, of whom just over 700,000 were to lose their lives. Middleton commemorated the end of the war, and paid tribute to the men from this Parish who were killed, with an exhibition and other events over the weekend of 10 and 11 November 2018.

Middleton Remembers

In the days leading up to the centenary, a dozen large poppies were installed at key points around the village. The metal poppies were made and donated by Arc Fabrications thanks to the generosity of Val Ward and Geoff Smith.


THANK YOU FOR THE KNITTED POPPIES

The appeal for knitted poppies to decorate the Church and the exhibition produced a fantastic response. A massive Thank You to everyone who contributed to the very impressive total of over 1,300 knitted or crocheted poppies that were received.

The poppies were incorporated into “cascades” of poppies decorating the pulpit and the font in the church, as well as at the entrance to the church and the pew ends. As the photos illustrate, the effect was dramatic and highly praised by everyone who visited the church over the remembrance weekend.

Poppy Pattern

  • Cast on 60 sts using 4mm needles and DK red yarn.
  • Rows 1-8 (K2,P2) to end Row 9 (K2tog) to end.
  • [30 sts] Row 10 (S2kpo) to end.
  • [10 sts] Break off yarn, leaving a long tail.
  • Thread tail through remaining 10 sts and pull tight, then fasten off yarn.
  • Join the edges of the poppy together and in the centre either sew on a black button or a black knitted pom-pom.

TRIBUTE TO THE FALLEN

In the early planning stages for the commemorations, it was decided that there should be a handcrafted centenary tribute to the men of the parish who lost their lives in the war. Janet Eason and Alison South kindly agreed to take the lead on designing and making the tribute.

The tribute was unveiled by Ali South (pictured left) and Janet Eason (pictured right) on the Saturday morning and is now on permanent display in the church.

The main theme of the tribute is a poppy for each of the thirty men named on the Middleton War Memorial, with their names recorded on a panel to the right. On the left is the famous poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae. The calligraphy was prepared by Jan and Ali’s art group colleague, Gillian Thompson.

THE EXHIBITION

Chris Dixon organised the exhibition, featuring World War 1 artefacts which he has collected over the years.

Next to the artefacts was a display of old photographs representing “The Middleton They Knew”. Many of the photographs were taken from postcards kindly provided by local resident, Rob Indge. Other photos were supplied by Joan Hazell and Peter Box and there was a display prepared by the children of Middleton School exploring their thoughts and questions about the war. 









REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY

The Middlewinch Benefice Remembrance Day Service, conducted together with the Royal British Legion, was held at St Mary’s Church. Falling exactly 100 years after the end of the war, the service provided the perfect focus for the commemorations. Sitting among the congregation was the silhouette of a Tommy obtained from the “There But Not There” charity whose presence provided a very moving reminder of all the local men who never returned from the war to their loved ones and communities.

The Remembrance Service concluded with the usual wreath laying ceremony at the War Memorial, after which a memorial tree and commemorative plaque were unveiled.

Guest of honour to perform the unveiling was Joan Hazell (pictured Below, front left) who had three uncles killed in the war, two of whom were awarded the Military Medal.

BATTLE’S OVER

Rounding off the special day, residents gathered at the Village Hall to take part in a national “Battle’s Over” event. The village beacon was lit while a bugler played the last post attended by members of the 42F Sqn, King’s Lynn Air Training Corps. The church bell rang 30 times at 7.00pm and Corporal Ed Spencer read 'We Shall Keep The Faith' by Moina Michael and Cadet A Runyard read 'The Soldier' by Rupert Brooke.