Blenheim Palace installs 200 life-size soldiers to mark Remembrance Sunday

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A moving display of 200 life-size soldiers has been erected on the lawn at Blenheim Palace to mark Remembrance Sunday.

Standing with Giants, made from recycled materials by local artist Dan Barton, stand among 75 poppy wreaths in memory of those who gave their lives in the two world wars.

The moving statues stand at 6ft and are now between the sprawling Palace and the Column of Victory for two weeks.

It comes after a similar display of 41 silhouettes of fallen soldiers from the Suffolk Regiment who died fighting for the country was unveiled in Haughley, near Stowmarket.

Meanwhile a 100-year-old D-Day veteran has urged the public to do their 'duty' and follow coronavirus restrictions to protect the NHS on Sunday.

Standing with Giants, made from recycled materials by local artist Dan Barton, stand among 75 poppy wreaths in memory of those who gave their lives in the two world wars

The moving statues (pictured) stand at 6ft and are now between the sprawling Palace and the Column of Victory for two weeks

Standing with Giants (pictured) was the work of Witney-based artist Mr Barton and are made from recycled building materials

Standing with Giants was the work of Witney-based artist Mr Barton and are made from recycled building materials.

His first major installation at the Aston Rowant Nature Reserve in 2019 proved to be a major success, with more than 7,500 people visiting.

Blenheim Palace's Operations Director, Heather Carter said: 'This year, as a result of the coronavirus, many of the planned parades and services to mark Remembrance Day have had to be cancelled.

'We wanted to do something that would still mark the occasion and help raise awareness of the ongoing need to support our veterans and the amazing work being carried out by the Royal British Legion.

'Now, more than ever, the assistance they can provide is sorely needed and we hope Dan's extraordinary figures will serve as a fitting tribute to all the fallen and a reminder of the terrible cost of conflict.'

Blenheim's Park and Gardens was set to remain open during lockdown, the spokesman said, but pre-booking was essential and donations would be taken through QR codes.

His first major installation at the Aston Rowant Nature Reserve in 2019 proved to be a major success, with more than 7,500 people visiting. Pictured: Standing with Giants

Blenheim Palace's Operations Director, Heather Carter said: 'This year, as a result of the coronavirus, many of the planned parades and services to mark Remembrance Day have had to be cancelled'

The spokesman added: 'The first Remembrance Day was observed in 1919 throughout Britain and the Commonwealth.

'Originally called Armistice Day, it commemorated the end of hostilities the previous year. It came to symbolise the end of the war and provide an opportunity to remember those who had died.

'Blenheim Palace has a long connection with British military history dating back to its creation back in the 18th century.

'Its construction was financed by Queen Anne, on behalf of a grateful nation, following the first Duke of Marlborough's victories in the War of the Spanish Succession.

'It was used as a rehabilitation hospital for soldiers returning from the front in WWI and is both the birthplace, and the final resting place, of Sir Winston Churchill.'

Yesterday black-painted 4ft tall plywood cut outs of 41 soldiers were unveiled in Haughley, near Stowmarket, Suffolk.

The touching display has attracted hundreds of visitors since being installed last week on the green at the centre of the village.

The silhouettes were designed by villager Kieron Palmer, 47, as a way of paying tribute to those who lost their lives.

He was inspired to create his art installation for the first time last year after he planted daffodils on the green in 2018 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his family's bakery in Haughley.

When the daffodils grew up in clumps in the spring, he thought they looked like clusters of troops on a battlefield which gave him the idea to make his soldiers.

Mr Palmer whose family have lived in the village for 500 years got a carpenter to make a template from an old photograph of a soldier.

He then used a jigsaw to create each silhouette over a period of 20 weeks, paying for materials out of his own pocket

Each silhouette represents one of the names on the village war memorial of the 31 men from the Haughley who died in World War One or the ten from World War Two.

The black-painted 4ft tall plywood cut outs of 41 soldiers represent all the men from Haughley, near Stowmarket, Suffolk, who died in World War One and World War Two

 Each silhouette represents a man from the village Haughley who died in World War One or the ten from World War Two

Captain Henry James Perceval Creagh (pictured), 8th Battalion, attached 3rd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Died 23 November 1918, aged 25 and was born in Bemuda. The captain was awarded the Military Cross near Vendegies, River Écaillon 24 October 1918. The citation for his Military Cross states: 'On 24th October 1918, whilst he commanded an assaulting company near Vendegies with great dash and determination, he crossed the river Écaillon under considerable fire, and then reorganised his company and advanced against and overcame very strong resistance by enemy machine gunners. Later, he was severely wounded whilst repelling a strong counter-attack, but remained on duty.'

A small wooden cross at the feet of each one gives the name and age of a fallen soldier from the village, and the year of their death.

Several families in the village today are related to the soldiers who are being commemorated.

The display proved so popular in 2019, that Mr Palmer decided to install it again this year.

He said: 'It is quite poignant that it is on the village green because that is where the young men were recruited during World War One.

'One of the Captains from the Yeomanry turned up and urged them to sign up for King and Country.

A small wooden cross at the feet of each one gives the name and age of a fallen soldier from the village, and the year of their death

Village baker Kieron Palmer, 47, who erected the silhouettes of fallen soldiers on the village green at Haughley, Suffolk

The village war memorial at Haughley, Suffolk. Thirty one men died in WWI and ten in WWII

Names of the Fallen on Haughley War Memorial

'He assured the local lads that it would all be over in six months and they all marched off to go and fight. Most of them were just teenagers. Sadly, many of them never returned.

'Four or five of them were killed when they went over the top on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.'

Mr Palmer said the dead included his great grandmother's nephew Edwin Woods, a Boer War veteran aged in his 40s, who was killed at Arras in France.

Pictured of the day the war memorial was first dedicated , 9th March 1920, as a choir and villagers congregated

Many villagers had lost family as they gathered to dedicate the war memorial, 18 months after the armistice was signed

At the time The Suffolk Chronicle and Mercury Friday newspapers described the unveiling as 'impressive' as crowds formed around the memorial

He added: 'Walking around the silhouettes, gives you a real feeling of being amongst them. It transposes what you may read on paper, to being something physical.

The memorial when it was newly unveiled in 1920, with wreaths surrounding it  

'It's important to visualise how many died. Just seeing a number means it is sometimes difficult to see how many sacrificed themselves.

'It is really emotional walking amongst them, I get goose bumps. It's really poignant. The display brings home the sheer loss of young life.

'Thousands of people visited the installation last year and we had 350,000 looking at the pictures of it online.

'One group of people included a blind man who was very impressed as he could actually feel the silhouettes.'

The Suffolk Regiment raised 23 battalions during the course of WWI and was awarded two Victoria Crosses.  

Last year's installation raised £1,000 for the Royal British Legion from donations left by visitors and collected in Mr Palmer's bakery next to the green

This year he is also selling poppy-shaped biscuits and muffins to help his appeal.

Mr Palmer added: 'It is important that even a small village like Haughley honours the men who fell for them.'

It had been planned to hold an open air service among the soldiers on Remembrance Day - November 11 - but that has been cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions. Villagers are instead being urged to stand on their doorsteps during the two minute silence.

Men of the 7th (Service) Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, in the ruins of the church in Tilloy, France, 18 October 1917

From the trenches to D-Day: How the historic Suffolk Regiment fought in both world wars - earning two Victoria Crosses 

Sidney James Day, 11th Battalion, awarded Victoria Cross for bravery, August, 1917

The Regiment was first raised by the Duke of Norfolk in 1685. 

WWI

The Regiment raised 23 battalions during the course of WWI and was awarded two Victoria Crosses.

Sergeant Arthur Frederick Saunders (No 3/10133), 9th Battalion, was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry at Loos on 26 September, 1915.

And Corporal Sidney James Day (No 15092), 11th Battalion, was awarded the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery, on 26 August, 1917.   

Several of the men who lost their lives from the village of Haughley were part of the 7th battalion. 

The 7th battalion fought in The Battle of Loos, The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Le Transloy.

As well as the The First and Third Battles of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The Cambrai operations, all in 1916.

And The Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras, both in 1918. 

WWII 

The 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 7th battalions were stationed overseas during WWII.

1st battalion:  

The 1st was sent to France in 1939 before being evacuated from Dunkirk to the UK.

They then landed in Normandy, D-Day, in June 1944 and continued the North Western Europe campaign from then on.

2nd battalion: 

The 2nd battalion was in Mhow, India at the outbreak of WWII and moved north to Razmak - they were engaged against tribesmen in the Tochi Valley for three years.

4th and 5th battalion: 

Became part of the 18th East Anglian Division.

In 1942 after the fall of Singapore around 620 of the battalions were taken as prisoners of war, with the dying on the Burma-Thailand Railway.

7th battalion:

Was converted to 142nd Regiment Royal Armoured Corps serving in North Africa and Italy. 

 In 1943 landed in Algiers with Churchill tanks and fought at the Battle of Medjez-el Bab in Tunisia later that year. 

The Prime Minister's official spokesman on Monday said that guidance would be given to councils but remembrance events would be allowed as long as social distancing was maintained. 

There will still be a national service at the Cenotaph in London, which will be broadcast on TV.

 The PM's spokesman said: 'We are certainly not cancelling Remembrance Sunday events but we must be mindful of the risks such events pose, especially to veterans who are often elderly.

'What we are saying to local authorities in England is that they may organise remembrance services but they should be outside and social distance should be maintained. We will be updating the guidance shortly.'

The spokesman added: 'It's important that the country can continue to come together to remember the sacrifice of those who have died in the service of their country and we will ensure that Remembrance Sunday is appropriately commemorated while protecting public health.'

It had been reported that Health Secretary Matt Hancock had told Tory MPs that only 'short, focused' wreath-laying events will be allowed.

But Major Ted Hunt, who commanded landing craft on to Gold Beach in Normandy in June 1944, called on people to adjust their behaviour to support doctors and nurses.

A former Queen's Bargemaster, he will be among the many elderly veterans unable to mark Remembrance Sunday in line with usual traditions this weekend, due to the coronavirus lockdown in England, as well as health concerns.

Speaking from his home in Lancing, West Sussex, before the new lockdown came into force, Mr Hunt said: 'On Remembrance Day I won't go anywhere.

'At 100, I'm vulnerable as far as coronavirus is concerned, and with the safety of the nurses and doctors in mind I want to reduce my contact as much as possible.

'So on Remembrance Sunday I'll be quite happy to be stuck here on my own in front of the television, listening to the mass bands, I hope, and the wonderful music, and I will think not only of my men who died on D-Day morning, I will not only think of my school class... I will think of the civilians.'

Born in Canning Town, east London, in 1920 to a 'river family' whose heritage dates back to the 17th century, Mr Hunt was apprenticed as a River Thames waterman and lighterman.

Following the outbreak of the Second World War he enlisted with the Royal Engineers and served at the Battle of Narvik in Norway.

He later worked in London and East Anglia, preparing defences in case of a German invasion, and by 1944 he was a captain commanding 15 Rhino ferries on D-Day.

He said that in four months, 64 of these landing craft put ashore 93,000 units of tanks, lorries and other vehicles as well as 440,000 tons of military stores.

'Because at 100 I'm more vulnerable (than) most, thinking of the doctors and nurses, I owe it to them to reduce... my increasing the figures and that falls upon me to behave in a certain way,' Mr Hunt said, arguing that restrictions should be 'severe'.

Asked what his message to the public would be, he added: 'Accept the discipline that is required in you to behave properly, and properly means that you reduce the likelihood of... adding your name to the list of patients to be seen by doctors and nurses.

'That's our duty. And we should do everything. So I cut my contact with others to a minimum.'

The grandfather-of-five continued: 'The more patients there are, the more doctors and nurses will die seeing to them. That's inevitable, isn't it? And I want to do my best to reduce it.

'I'm quite happy with the discipline that requires me to do that.'

Mr Hunt said his 'special mate' - fellow veteran Fred Glover, 94, who lived near Brighton - had recently died after contracting Covid-19. He had been in hospital after a few falls at home.

Mr Glover was just 17 when he joined the 9th Parachute Battalion during the Second World War.

Major Ted Hunt (left and right), who commanded landing craft on to Gold Beach in Normandy in June 1944, called on people to adjust their behaviour to support doctors and nurses

He was wounded in a glider landing in Normandy and was taken as a prisoner of war until he managed to escape from a hospital.

He returned to the battalion and later saw action in the Battle of the Bulge, fighting against the last major German offensive of the war on the Western Front, and the Rhine crossing.

'Everybody loved Fred,' Mr Hunt said, adding: 'It really knocked me out, I can tell you, I was in tears.

'But you have to get over it and dust yourself off and start all over again. I'm OK now, I'm surrounded by friends, I couldn't have it better.'

Mr Hunt saw out the war in Europe working on the engineering of water crossings in the Netherlands.

Demobilised as a major he returned to civilian life as a college lecturer in navigation and watermanship at City and East London College in London from 1948 until 1988.

He became a Royal Waterman and was appointed Queen's Bargemaster in 1978 and eventually retired from royal service as a Member of the Royal Victorian Order in 1990.   

Names of the fallen soldiers from Haughley, Suffolk:

 Allen AGER

Lance Corporal G/16265, 11th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment.

Died 3 April 1918. Aged 24. 

William BALDRY 

Lance Corporal 9440, 1st Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment.

Died of wounds 1 March 1915. Aged 20.

Born Haughley, Stowmarket, enlisted Stowmarket, Suffolk 

Reginald Willoughby BUTTERWORTH

Private 4145, 4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment.

Died 29 October 1916. Aged 33. 

Henry [James] Perceval CREAGH

Captain, 8th Battalion attached 3rd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment.

Died 23 November 1918. Aged 25. 

Nelson [Walter] CUTTING 

Lance Corporal 43302, 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment.

Died 18 August 1916.

W Claude DENNY 

Private 18042, 8th (Service) Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment.

Died of wounds 28 February 1916. Aged 20.

Born and resident Haughley, Suffolk, enlisted Colchester, Essex. 

John ELMER 

Lance Corporal 14468, 7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment.

Killed in action 5 April 1918.

Born and enlisted Haughley, Suffolk.

Walter Henry ELMER 

Private 20942, 9th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment.

Killed in action 30 September 1916.

Born Haughley, Suffolk, enlisted Stowmarket.

William George GOODE 

Private 36329, 7th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers.

Died 26 February 1917. Aged 27. 

Edward Donald HARRISON 

Second Lieutenant, 3rd Battalion, Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment). 

Died 25 July 1916. Aged 39.

H L HARRISON

No further information currently available

W W HAYWARD 

No further information currently available

Clifford [Bruce] HONEYBALL 

Private 5240, 8th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment.

Killed in action 1 July 1916. Aged 20. 

Born and enlisted Haughley, Suffolk. 

Job [Sydney] HUNNIBELL 

Private 5232, 8th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment. Killed in action 1 July 1916. 

Aged 20. Born Old Newton, Suffolk, resident Daqworth, Suffolk, enlisted Haughley, Suffolk. 

Oliver [Charles] JEFFERIES 

Private 9046, 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment.

Killed in action 17 May 1917.

Born Haughley, Suffolk, enlisted Bury St. Edmunds

William [Arthur] JEFFERIES 

Lance Corporal 27058, 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment formerly 36373, Essex Regiment.

Killed in action 29 October 1917.

Born and resident Haughley, Suffolk, enlisted Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. 

F E KEEBLE 

No further information currently available

H KEMP 

No further information currently available

C MORPHEW 

No further information currently available

John [Merchant] MORPHEW 

Private 23485, 7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment.

Died between 9 and 10 April 1917. Aged 25. 

James MOSS 

Private 5819348, 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment.

Died 29 November 1920. Aged 31.

William PEARSON 

Private 14862, 7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Killed in action 4 May 1917. 

Born Catten, Norfolk, enlisted Haughley, Suffolk

Joseph [Henry] POLLARD 

Sergeant 12818, 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Killed in action 22 January 1916. Aged 24. 

Born Haughley, Suffolk, enlisted Ipswich.

T RANSOM 

No further information currently available

D A REYNOLDS 

No further information currently available

Frederick William ROBERTS 

Private 43130, 13th Battalion, Essex Regiment.

Died 13 November 1916. Aged 21. 

F J RUFFLES 

No further information currently available

Walter SORE 

Lance Corporal 14860, 8th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment.

Killed in action 17 February 1917. Born and enlisted Haughley, Suffolk. 

R SUTTON 

No further information currently available 

Claude George WETHERALL 

Private 41845, 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. Killed in action 25 May 1918. Born Crayford, Kent, resident Haughley, Suffolk, enlisted Bury St. Edmunds.  

Edwin Frank WOODS

Private 41496, 13th Battalion, Essex Regiment formerly 35087, Suffolk Regiment.

Killed in action 28 April 1917. Aged 39. Born and resident Haughley, Suffolk, enlisted Bury St. Edmund's.  

T BEVAN 

No further information currently available

J A BROWN 

No further information currently available

John William Wyrett CLARKE 

Steward LT/LX 575166, H.M.S. 'Fratton,' Royal Naval Patrol Service.

Died 18 August 1944. Aged 45. 

A CLEMENTS 

No further information currently available

Herbert Edward COLEMAN 

Private 5837807, 1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment.

Died 28 June 1944. Aged 20. 

F FRANCIS 

No further information currently available

John GOLDING 

Trooper 14506391, Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons), Royal Armoured Corps. Died 27 June 1944/ Aged 20.

Ronald GOLDING 

Sapper 2156223, 58 Field Company, Royal Engineers/ Died 7 April 1944. Aged 22. 

Benjamin Patrick GREEN 

Private 5831779, 1st battalion, East Surrey Regiment. Died 24 May 1944. Aged 28. 

Reginald George JOLLY 

Ordinary Seaman P/JX 516412, H.M.S. 'Tweed,' Royal Navy.  Died 7 January 1944. Aged 18. 

Source: roll-of-honour.com/Suffolk/Haughley

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