Parade and flypast for Swaffham's heroes

Hundreds of people are expected to line the streets of Swaffham for a high-profile military parade and a flypast, celebrating the unveiling of a unique plaque in the town's main square.

Hundreds of people are expected to line the streets of Swaffham for a high-profile military parade and a flypast, celebrating the unveiling of a unique plaque in the town's main square.

Members of the Royal Naval Association, Swaffham branch, will see an enduring dream come true when the plaque commemorating military personnel who lost their lives in conflicts past, present and future will be officially dedicated on Sunday, 29 June.

The rectangular pink granite stone which will be fixed at the bottom of the war memorial in the market square will bear the inscription: “In memory of the fallen of the East Anglia 1945 - To present day Lest we forget.”

Ernie Heritage, chairman of the Royal Naval Association, Swaffham branch who has been working with other members of the association to add the plaque to the current memorial, said the inscription was unique as it included all those who made or will make the ultimate sacrifice for the country.

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“Over 16,000 people died in conflicts since the second world war and many of those were from East Anglia,” he 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.”

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David Harman, secretary of the Royal Naval Association and Swaffham's deputy mayor explained the day will start with a parade where members of the local branches of the Royal Naval Association, Royal British Legion, the George Cross Island Association, Royal Marine Association, British Korean Veterans Association and the 7th Armoured Division Association (Desert Rats) will march from Whitecross Road, stop in front of the Assembly Rooms and finish at the memorial in the Market Square.

They will be joined by the King's Lynn Sea Cadets, members of the 1894 Squadron Air Training Corps, and the Dereham Town Band which will be leading the parade. The parade is due to start at 11.15am.

Richard Jewson, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk will be taking the salute from the dais outside the Assembly Rooms and unveil the plaque later in the day.

Other high-profile guests will be Viscountess Knollys, High Sheriff of Norfolk, Christopher Fraser MP, Wyndham Northam new chairman of Norfolk County Council, John Labouchere, new chairman for Breckland Council and Swaffham's town mayor Shirley Matthews. Members of the 4th Regiment Army Air Corps, Light Dragoons, 39th Engineer Regiment, 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment, 3rd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment (Volunteers), RAF Marham and RAF Honnigton and 6th Regiment Army Air Corps (Volunteers) are also expected to attend.

A dedication service will be held at the memorial by the Rev John Smith, vicar of the parish church of St Peter and St Paul.

Organisers say a Battle of Britain memorial flight is also expected, subject to “weather and operational and service ability requirements.”

A poem penned by local resident Cyril Holbrook in honour of the fallen will be read out and wreaths will be laid by various guests.

“We have received a substantial donation from Swaffham Town Council for the plaque and are also grateful to local businesses which have also helped us with our fundraising campaign,” Mr Heritage said.

“This will be a proud and memorable day for the town and its people and especially for the members of the Royal Naval Association and Royal British Legion in Swaffham,” he added.

For further information contact David Harman on 01760 336 536 or Ernie Heritage on 01760 722 306

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