The First World War
The Bury Free Press of September 12th. 1914, reported that the residents of Tuddenham had passed a resolution to be ' ready to do all that Lord Kitchener asks' and 'welcomed organized military training for all people.
A month earlier Reservist Harry Scott of the King's Own Rifles had already left for duty. At 29 years of age he left his 26 year old wife Nellie and two young children living at Charity Farm. Away for the duration of the war Harry returned by train to Higham station and walked home to Tuddenham. A farm labourer working in the fields noticed him and ran to the farm calling, ' Nellie, Nellie, there's a soldier come over the hill '. Nellie left the stone slabs of the kitchen floor half scrubbed, put her hair up into a bun and ran to meet him, then, in her own words, they 'shook hands'.
During World War 1 the soldiers hired the village school for five shillings a night to hold military dances. Fifty troopers of the Royal Garrison Artillery were billeted in the school overnight on November 8th. 1915 and the rector authorized its closure due to the 'foul atmosphere'.
The headmaster, George French-Matthews kept a school log book and recorded Zeppelin raids over the village. One raid on February 1st. 1916 that 'badly shook the village houses' dropped 60 bombs in the area and lasted from 7.25 p.m. until 9.40.p.m.
Among at least five men from the village who died in 1917 on the 'poppy fields of Flanders' was Spencer George Grimwood, whose headstone in the village churchyard is still tended by the War Graves Commission.Spencer died from his wounds in a military hospital in London and his coffin, draped with the Union Jack, was conveyed to Tuddenham from Mildenhall railway station in a glass panelled hearse.
Lance Corporal Henry Nunn died of pneumonia after three months in the trenches. He was clerk in the estate offices of Mr. A.B.H. Goldschmidt of Cavenham and Mr. Leopold Davies of Herringswell.
Sgt. Edward Hollock Smith married Ada Woollard from Nod's Hall on September 26th. 1915 just prior to him being sent to France. He was killed in action on July 13th. 1917 and was awarded the Military Medal which was presented to his widow during a ceremony at Mildenhall.
Of the eighty men mentioned on the Roll of Honour posted in the village church nine lost their lives. Among the men that went to 'do their duty' were the village shoemaker, postman, coalman, baker, blacksmith, builder and many agricultural workers. The population of the village in 1911 was 318 illustrating the fact that one quarter of the village served away from home during the First World War.
©2000 Susan Cook
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