Hoxne Heritage Group commemorates the start of WW2.

On September 8th just over 220 members of the local community visited the Hoxne Heritage Group’s Exhibition celebrating the commencement of World War Two. The exhibition featured profiles of local Hoxne residents who served in the early part of the war, artefacts and a narrative of events from the period, maps and posters.

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The centrepiece of the exhibition was the recently discovered wartime diary of Major Harry Palgrave Raven who was responsible for the establishment of the Hoxne branch of the Local Defence Volunteers, later to become the Home Guard. The diary records in minute detail the names of the men who served, the dates on which equipment, including rifles and ammunition were issued. It also describes how our church of St Peter and St Paul was used as a lookout position for parachutists.

Also attracting great interest was a model of an Anderson shelter and a Morrison shelter expertly crafted by Allen Burridge.

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Visitors were provided with examples of wartime food including Haricot Bean Sausage Rolls, Spam Sandwiches and Camp Coffee.

The ultimate in realism was provided by period posters, music of the time playing on 1930’s equipment and video screens playing wartime Ministry of Information films. The air raid siren set off periodically added to the nostalgia.

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It was a mark of the success of the exhibition to hear so many people reminiscing and sharing stories triggered by the events and people depicted in the displays. As one of the elders of the village said ‘times weren’t always bad, there were good times too –the community stuck together’.

A future exhibition is planned, for next September, to commemorate later stages of the war.

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