Hoxne's WW2 History

Memorial William Barber Gerald Goddard Harry Knights Ronald Sheehan William Scofield Harold Tyler Henry Tyler

Hoxne Heritage Group World War Two Exhibitions September 2019/2022

Originally planned as a three part exhibition celebrating life in the village and surrounding areas during the years 1939/45 and remembering those who served; this project was eventually refined into two events covering the years 1939-41 and 1942-45.

The first exhibition celebrating the early war years was held in the Village Hall on September 8th 2019 and the second exhibition, much delayed by COVID 19 restrictions was eventually held on September 11th 2022.

The centrepiece of the first 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 and 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.

Both exhibitions featured displays, artefacts, exhibits and posters depicting many of the events of the period and how these impacted on the local communities. Much of the archive material featured biographies of those who served in the armed forces and local defence organisations.

On both occasions visitors were able to enjoy examples of wartime food and refreshments made from recipes of the period while listening to wartime music played on period equipment.

Both events were extremely well attended, in excess of 200 visitors came to the first exhibition and slightly less to the second although this period coincided with the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the second.

The following section of our website contains much of the material from the exhibition.

The details of all the men recorded on the Hoxne War Memorial, including their connection to Hoxne together with, so far as is possible, a record of their military service has been recorded together with a Roll of Honour and details of those others that played their part in the war. Click on their names on the War Memorial picture above or the list below.

The table below lists the soldiers fom Hoxne killed in WW2. Click on their name for full details of each soldier.

Name Rank Date died
William Barber Private 29th May 1940
Gerald Goddard Private 7th December 1943
Harry Knights Private 22nd August 1943
Ronald Sheehan Lieutenant 31st March 1945
William Scofield Private 13th September 1943
Harold Tyler Private 30th December 1940
Henry Tyler Private October 1943

This table contains the information discovered about Hoxne's part in the war and how it was affected by National and International events.

Date Event
May 1937 Basque children evacuated to destinations including the UK to escape the Spanish Civil War. Some refugees sent to Hoxne.
28th September 1938 Respirators issued by Air Raid Wardens at St. Edmund's Hall, Hoxne.
July 1939 ARP Practice at Stradbroke where Henry Charles Hawes died.
1939 to 1945 Hoxne School Log for the period during WW2
1939 to 1945 Marriages in Hoxne during WW2
14th May 1940 Anthony Eden made an urgent appeal on the radio to all men aged between 17 and 65. They wanted all men not already serving in the armed forces to become part-time soldiers helping to deal with parachutists. These became the Local Defence Volunteers but from the 31st July 1940 the title was changed in favour of the 'Home Guard'.
15th May 1940 An open air meeting, at 8.30am., was held at St. Edmund's Hall in Hoxne where fifty men signed on. Many of the men were those who could not join the regular army because their day time jobs were necessary to keep the country running. They included farm workers, bakers, teachers, grocers, bank staff and railway workers. Other men who joined were either too young or too old to join the regular army.
29th May 1940 Death of William James Barber in Belgium.
May/June George Harsent captured in France.
30th December 1940 Harold Tyler killed in air raid at RAF Mildenhall.
1940 to 1943 National Farm Survey.
April 1941 Alec Goldsmith taken prisoner in Greece.
April 1941 Alfred Knights captured in Crete.
December 1941 James Feavearyear, Harry Thomas Knights, William John Scofield, R.J. Scofield and Jimmy Rush just landed in India en route for the Far East.
June 1943 US 95th Bomber Group based in Horham until the end of the war.
September 1944 - 1946 Homecoming Fund.

The following table contains a timeline of National and International events.

Date Event
1918 to 1939 Britain's Countdown to War
1939 to 1942 Events of the War years.

The following give an insight into life during WW2.

Cinema during WW2

The Black Market

Entertaining the armed forces



Pre WW2 Sport

The War Time Civilian Receiver

The Nazi Christmas

The German Home Front