A busy Armed Forces Week for Haverhill’s Royal British Legion

Sgt Graham Cox from Haverhill, who was killed in Northern Ireland in 1971 ANL-160613-142859001
Sgt Graham Cox from Haverhill, who was killed in Northern Ireland in 1971 ANL-160613-142859001

Royal British Legion Branch has a full schedule for Armed Forces Week next week.

As well as the traditional flag raising ceremony on Monday, the week will see the unveiling of changes to the town’s World War Two and Northern Ireland memorials and the opening of a pop-in centre where service people, veterans and their families can seek legion help.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s annual Armed Forces Day flag raising ceremony will be at The Market Square on Monday June 20, with a short service to commemorate the men and women in the British Armed Forces, attended by borough mayor Julia Wakelam.

The flag will then be raised at 2.30pm and will be flown until the close of Armed Forces Day on Saturday June 25.

Wednesday will see rededication of two memorials.

Two names have been added to the World War Two memorial after Haverhill Family History Group members Jeanie Smith and Charmian Thompson discovered RAF men Sergeant Thomas English, of 9 Squadron, and Pilot Officer John Gurteen of 504 Squadron, had been left off it.

Sgt English married teacher Doris Bigmore, of The Pightle, Haverhill, in November 1939 while stationed at RAF Stradishall on bombers.

Pilot Officer Gurteen was the son of Mr and Mrs Conrad Gurteen, of The Woodlands, Haverhill. He flew in the Battle of Britain from RAF Hendon.

The memorial to Sgt Graham Cox, who was killed in Northern Ireland in 1971, has been raised and angled to make it more visible.

Sgt Cox was with the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards, attached to the Parachute Squadron, Royal Armoured Corps, when he was hit by an IRA sniper’s bullet. The 35-year-old Catholic left a widow, Sheila who still lives in Haverhill, and three young sons.

It is hoped members of the three men’s families will be at the ceremony in Haverhill Cemetary at 11am.

Pop -in Centres are the Royal British Legion’s new presence in the high street and Haverhill’s will be open from 10am to noon in Haverhill Library’s Meeting Room every Friday from June 24. Legion representatives will be there to explain what help it can offer anyone who has had at least one week’s paid service with the forces, including reserve forces, and their families.