Men at War - WW2


Hethel has one WW2 grave in its churchyard (below), although no name was added to the memorial in the church. Squadron Leader CHARLES MICHAEL HORSFELL served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Service No.75544) and died on 21st November 1942 at the age of 53 and was buried on 24th November by the Rector of East Carleton. His wife, Margaret Arnold Horsfell, lived in Wisborough Green, Sussex. Little else is known about him, or why he was buried in Hethel, but he may have been a PE Instructor.

There is one name on the Bracon Ash war memorial: Private ALFRED HENRY SPINKS. The as yet unsolved mystery is why the memorial in Bracon Ash church records a William Spinks.... Alfred Henry was born and baptised in Barnham Broom in 1918, the son of Sidney Henry & Gertrude Blanche Spinks. The family were living in Hawkes Lane, Bracon Ash in the 1930s (at no.3 Council Houses in 1939). He enlisted at the No1 Infantry Training Centre, Warley Barracks on 17/10/1940 and joined the Ist Battalion Essex Regiment (Service No. 6029291), serving with them in North Africa. He died 28 Oct 1941 and is commemorated on the Tobruk War Memorial in Libya (ref. 6.P.4). Tobruk, a Mediterranean port with a deep-water harbour, was an important target. in January 1941 British forces captured it from the Italians, but was under siege by Rommel's army from April to December 1941. Alfred Henry Spinks was one of many who died keeping the Axis forces at bay.

But there are other men who lived in Bracon Ash or Hethel who are commemorated on memorials in other villages:

CLIFFORD ARTHUR KEDGE, Private, No. 5776378 of the 4th, Bn. Royal Norfolk Regiment was born in Mulbarton, Norfolk on the 7th January, 1919, the son of Richard and Eliza Kedge. Early in 1941 he married Clara V Flint and they lived at The Retreat, Bracon Ash, Norwich, Norfolk. Before his enlistment into the army his occupation was a Gardener. The 4th, 5th and 6th Battalions of the Royal Norfolk Regiment served in the Far East as part of the 18th Infantry Division in the defence of Singapore and Malaya against the Japanese advance. After the fall of Singapore on 15th February 1942, Clifford was held first in Changi Prison Camp and then taken to Thailand to work on the notorious Burma Railway. He contracted malaria in September 1943 and was admitted to the hospital in Chung Kai POW Camp. He died 13th October 1943 and is buried in Chung Kai Cemetery - now a Commonwealth War Graves cemetery located on the same spot as the Chung Kai POW camp used during the construction of the railway line and the bridge that spans the River Kwai. He is commemorated on the war memorial in Mulbarton Church. Following the death of Clifford, his widow Clara married a widower Percy Arthur Butler in 1949 in Tonbridge, Kent; they had two children. (Research and information on Clifford Kedge kindly supplied by Martin Thurlow)