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Memorial plaque the first of its kind

PUBLISHED: 09:30 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 10:56 08 July 2010

The dedication service at Swaffham.

The dedication service at Swaffham.

A plaque remembering thousands of servicemen and women who have died in conflict since the end of the second world war - believed to be the first of its kind in the country - was unveiled in Swaffham on Sunday.

A plaque remembering thousands of servicemen and women who have died in conflict since the end of the second world war - believed to be the first of its kind in the country - was unveiled in Swaffham on Sunday.

Hundreds of people - including war veterans and families of those killed serving their country - attended a parade and service of dedication.

An estimated 16,000 Britons have been killed in action since 1945 - many of those from East Anglia.

The rectangular pink granite stone is fixed to the bottom of the war memorial in Swaffham Market Place and has the inscription: “In memory of the fallen of East Anglia 1945-present day. Lest we forget.”

It is hoped other communities across Britain will create similar memorials.

The idea for the plaque came from Ernie Heritage, chairman of the Swaffham branch of the Royal Naval Association.

He has worked with a range of organisations including the Royal British Legion, Swaffham Ex-Serviceman's Club and Swaffham Town Council to bring the idea to fruition.

Mr Heritage said: “To our knowledge there are no other similar plaques in towns across the country and we strongly hope that others will follow in our footsteps and unveil similar plaques to their local heroes.”

Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk Richard Jewson unveiled the plaque and also took the salute during the parade.

In the service Jade Chasney, 14, of the King's Lynn Sea Cadets, read a poem called All These Names, which was specially written by local man Cyril Holbrook.

Before the service at the memorial, there had been a parade through Swaffham, led by Dereham band and including 30 standards as well as past and present servicemen and women and young people from the King's Lynn Sea Cadets and the 1894 Squadron Air Training Corps.

A large crowd of local people turned out for the parade and the dedication.

A Lancaster and two Spitfires from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight then performed a flypast during the afternoon to complete the commemorations.

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