Norfolk Victory Memorial Re-listed to Commemorate 75th Anniversary of VE Day
Felbrigg Hall's park and garden has been re-listed to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8 May - Victory in Europe in 1945. The re-listing was granted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the advice of Historic England.
The Victory V
The Grade II* listed park and garden in Norfolk has two linked avenues of beech trees. The avenues, in The Great Wood, are known as the ‘Victory V’. Although already listed, new information linking this site to the Second World War has been added to its list description on the National Heritage List for England which affords special protection to the most important parts of England's heritage.
A poignant memorial
The beech tree avenues, which form a 'V' when viewed from the air, were planted in 1946 by Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer (2 May 1906–12 December 1969), the last squire of Felbrigg Hall, to commemorate VE Day and to honour his younger brother, Richard Thomas Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, who was killed on active service during the Battle of Crete in May 1941.
Richard served with No.30 Squadron of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. The squadron originally flew Bristol Blenheim aircraft in both fighter and bomber roles but was re-designated as a fighter unit in March 1941, flying Hawker Hurricanes. It is believed that Richard was killed in action on or around 23 May 1941. He was 32 years old. He was posted as Missing later that year, and then “Previously reported Missing, now presumed Killed on Active Service” in 1942.
His brother Robert later wrote: "It is exactly 20 years since my brother died in Crete when we waited for news of him and heard none."
We owe the Second World War generation an enormous debt of gratitude. I am delighted that, as we prepare to mark 75 years since the end of the war in Europe on 8 May, we are protecting these historic sites in this way.
The last squire of Felbrigg Hall
Currently fully closed to visitors due to the coronavirus outbreak, Felbrigg Hall with its 65 hectare parkland is noted for its Jacobean architecture. The Windham (also known as Wyndham) family acquired the manor of Felbrigg Hall, which included a hall and park, during the 15th century. Many additions to the house and gardens were made over the centuries by subsequent heirs.
Born in 1906, Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer was the last squire of Felbrigg Hall. He was a major in the Home Guard during the Second World War and the High Sheriff of Norfolk (1951–2) and a justice of the peace. He was actively involved in the founding of the University of East Anglia. Robert bequeathed Felbrigg Hall to the National Trust when he died in 1969.
Victory in Europe on 8 May 1945 was celebrated with a combination of euphoria and relief across England. The surviving physical evidence of the Second World War is all around us, but is often unrecognised. We must ensure that the rich history of these iconic sites is not forgotten.