Hessett war memorial, Suffolk

ImageSt Ethelbert’s church in Hessett, Suffolk, dates back to the 15th century and is famous for its medieval wallpaintings.

Outside the church is a war memorial for the First World War with 14 names on it.

Seven of these fell in 1918, two each in 1917, 1916 and 1915 and one in 1914. Inside the church is a list of the 52 men who served in the conflict.

The first name on the memorial is that of William Hubbard. CWGC has two men of this name listed for 1914 – the first of these was a stoker on the heavy cruiser HMS Cressy (pictured above), who was killed when the ship was torpedoed on 22 September by U9. HMS Cressy was already obsolete by 1914 and was largely crewed by Royal Naval reservists when she sank

The other was a private in 1st Battalion the King’s Royal Rifle Corps who died on 17 September. The battalion had landed in France on 13 August.

The 1915 casualties are Herbert Green – probably a lance corporal (service number 12563) in 7th Battalion the Suffolk Regiment, who died on 22 July that year and is buried at Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, France. This battalion was raised in Bury St Edmunds in August 1914 and landed in France on 30 May 1915.

The other 1915 casualty is George Stiff, a territorial army soldier of 1/5th Suffolk Regiment who died at Gallipoli on 21 August 1915 and whose names appears on the Helles Memorial to the Missing.

His battalion had only landed at Gallipoli on 10 August and was in action on 12 August, along with the 1/5th Norfolk Regiment – the Sandringham Battalion which was reputed to have vanished into a cloud, but which in reality was cut off and had many of its members killed.

It is possible George Stiff succumbed to wounds sustained on 12 August.

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