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Flags fly high at memorial

PUBLISHED: 14:19 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:32 07 July 2010

The lives of men who fought in the Great War of 1914 to 1919 have been marked as a memorial to remember their and other war heroes' lives was unfurled - and a memorial from nearly 90 years earlier rediscovered.

The lives of men who fought in the Great War of 1914 to 1919 have been marked as a memorial to remember their and other war heroes' lives was unfurled - and a memorial from nearly 90 years earlier rediscovered.

Two new flag poles flying the British and Royal British Legion flags were put up at the war memorial in the centre of Dereham on Friday, creating a new focal point for services and memorial days in the town.

And to make the event more poignant, the dust was blown off the original 1920s Dereham Roll of Honour, a huge script naming every man from Dereham who took part in the 1914 to 1919 war, which has been stored out of sight for years.

It was a remarkable event for Naval Association president David Lambert, who saw his father's name on the roll of honour for the first time.

He said: “I feel honoured to see his name there and quite nostalgic. He was the first standard bearer for the Royal British Legion when the memorial was first put in Dereham in 1922.”

Stephen (Tiny) Lambert, who was 6ft 6ins, remained the standard bearer until 1949.

Mr Lambert's uncle, Maj Jim Sheddick, who served in both world wars went on to become a famous athlete, was also on the roll.

In 1967 David became standard bearer for the Naval Association in Dereham. He was serving in Korea when his father died aged 61.

Now it is hoped to have the roll of honour restored and framed in time to have it displayed in the Norwich Road Memorial Hall for the 60th anniversary of its dedication as a memorial hall in 1944 next year.

The two new flag poles mean the Legion and other forces association flags can be flown for the first time in the town, marking days like Armistice Day, Veteran's Day and Trafalgar Day.

Rowland Hall, president of the Royal British Legion Dereham Branch, said: “We are very pleased. It creates a real focal point and all three services can come and fly their flags, the RAF for Battle of Britain week, the Navy for Trafalgar Day.”

John Gretton, town mayor, said: “We're delighted, they will make a wonderful back drop to events like Armistice Day.”

He they would also be used to mark other occasions. Less than a week after being blessed on Friday, a flag has been raised at least twice, for the Queen's birthday, on Monday, and on Wednesday, for St George's Day.

An event has already been planned for Veteran's Day on June 29, which Mr Hall said will be the first time the day has been marked in Dereham.

There will be a march through the town with Dereham Town Band and the RAF wing commander giving a salute.

He said any ex-servicemen would be welcome.

The new poles were put up by the town council with the forces associations.

An old flag pole is still attached to the side of the town hall and is due to be taken down and passed on to Dereham Scout Group.

There were concerns it could damage the building.

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