The churchyard, which is officially recognised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, contains the grave of Thomas Green who died during the Second World War, aged 35.
He was one of 33 sailors – mostly in their teens – who were killed when a sleeping hut at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, Hampshire, was hit by a German bomb on June 18 1943. Most of the victims had enrolled in the Royal Navy only a fortnight before.
The bombing was kept hushed up at the time – the victims’ families were initially told it had been an ammunitions accident. The true story only became known decades later.
In 1993 the 50th anniversary of the tragic event was commemorated by laying a wreath near a tree planted for the event, and a further commemoration took place in 2013.
- Thomas Green was the son of John and Emily Green of Forncett St Mary, and was the husband of Alexandra Nell Green of Wreningham.
The impact of the Second World War is also recognised in permanent display in the church about the Holocaust and the main death camps. A special service was held in St Mary's on January 27 2020 for Holocaust Memorial Trust Day on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz - see below.
Link to Holocaust Memorial Trust