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When the event was first presented to the Exning Parish Council in March 2014 five objectives were identified and this is how they were achieved:

Leverage the uniqueness of the “Rolls of Honour”
which identify all of those men who enlisted.

The Rolls of Honour formed the basis of identifying the home of the men of Exning who enlisted in the war.

The initial thought that the 1911 census would provide detailed address information proved not to be true and additional references used were 1901 Census.1910 Valuation Study, 1913/4/5 Electoral Registers

It was decided to also include the men named on the Exning War Memorial making a total of 302 men.

Precise addresses 142; No longer exist 59; Known to small group of homes 31; Known only to street 70;

Honour those who returned from WWI
changed by physical or mental wounds

All those who went to war were included

Those who were affected by physical and mental wounds were specifically mentioned in the “Return from War” re-enactment.

Provide a means of involving many people in the village

As part of the planning for the event, 4 “open” planning meetings were held and plans refined in light of the discussions. Many villagers attended with age range early 20s to 80s

Around 100 people walked, many accompanied by relatives, friends or neighbours plus one horse.

There was outstanding support from the school staff and Friends Of Exning School.

The queuing for the signing enabled much interaction between people


Provide an opportunity for people to both remember and understand, in part,
what it was like to enlist in the First World War, or see one’s loved ones going away.

“I hear -- I forget, I see -- I remember, I do-- I understand”

People walked to enlist, some with friends or family

For most the ”drill” was probably a first experience – as it was for the men they represented

During the days before the event, children at the school watched newsreels and created their own versions of war.

During the “war” both those who had not enlisted (and those who had) were shown newsreel footage and the children’s creations

A museum enabled everybody to see memorabilia of men who served in WW1

Provide an event which may attract media attention and raise the profile of Exning village

The following coverage of the event took place:

Article and photo in Newmarket Journal (NJ) October 30 about the grant from FHDC

Article and photos in Cambridge News November 10 about event

Double page spread in NJ November 13 with article and photo montage (and “above title” reference and photo “A Village Remembers”)

Article in Newmarket News after the event,

Live interview broadcast during BBC Cambridgeshire Breakfast program on November 8

BBC TV “Look East” sent a cameraman and performed interview but it was not aired (precedence given to Remembrance Sunday events).


The event was funded by generous grants of:

£250 from Exning Parish Council and

£500 from Forest Heath District Council (£250 locality budget and £250 matching funds from its “WW1 Community Budget” for which the project became the press example)


It is hoped that the main legacy will be that all individuals who took part will understand more of what the Exning men of WW1 experienced

A further legacy is that relationships have been renewed and new ones established between villagers

The tangible items which will form part of Exning’s Heritage are:

o The 70 page “Enlistment Book” signed by the walkers which is in the archive at Suffolk Records Office in Bury St Edmunds

O An A4 Photobook will be prepared to record the background of the event and photos taken (click to view) which is in the archive at Suffolk Records Office in Bury St Edmunds

o Replicas of both books are housed in a lockable display box housed in St Martin’s Church and can be seen on this website. together with newspaper cuttings.

Photos of the Exning pages of the 1910 Valuation study will be made available on the Exning.Net website

John Saville

November 20, 2014 Rev 2 141120

Exning Enlistment Re-enactment – Results