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The Dersingham Rifle Range
Mike Strange ©

1907-05-27 The Times Newspaper

Map from 1945
Page 7


On Saturday the King honoured the Norfolk, men  who served in the Crimean and Indian Mutiny campaigns by inviting the survivors to Sandringham. The number which mustered for the  occasion was 46-23 from the Norwich district and a similar number from Lynn and district. The men arrived by train at Wolferton Station  about 9 30, under the care of Captain. A. W. M.  Atthill, of the Norfolk Artillery Volunteers, secretary of the Royal Norfolk Veterans' Association, and Captain G. G. Woodwark, of the Lynn Volunteers, secretary for the Lynn district, and they were also accompanied by Mr. G. Baker, of Hillington, chairman of the Lynn branch. The oldest of the veterans was 88, and they included the sole Norfolk survivor of the Balaclava, charge. By command of the King, wagonettes were waiting to convoy them to Sandringham House. Shortly before 11 o'clock they proceeded to the lawns above the terraces on the east front of the house. Here they were drawn up in line ready for the King's inspection, those who were physically unable to remain standing being accommodated with chairs. A few minutes later, the King arrived. Sir Dighton Probyn. having presented Captain Atthill and Captain Woodwork to the King, his Majesty inspected the veterans.  He shook each of them cordially by the hand, inquired concerning his health, examined his medals, and talked with him concerning the engagements in which he had taken part. After this his Majesty addressed all the men as follows :—

"I am very pleased to see so many of you here looking so well and hearty. I hope that, although you are no longer young, you have some years yet remaining in which to enjoy this Norfolk air, and that I shall see you here on a great many future occasions. You will find refreshment waiting in the ball-room for you, and I hope you will benefit by partaking of it."

His Majesty then shook ,hands with Captain Atthill, upon whom he conferred. the Victorian Order of the Fourth Class. He also shook hands with Captain Woodwark, and thanked him for the interest he had taken in the Lynn section. The men were then conducted into the ball-room, where they dined together. The health of the King was pledged with enthusiasm. The veterans were afterwards driven to various interesting parts of the Royal estate, visiting York Cottage, Appleton House, the stables, kennels, &c., and were taken to Wolferton Station in time to enable them to leave by the 3 o'clock train.

For the convenience of the members of the Volunteer company formed last year on-the Royal estate, his Majesty has constructed a.rifle range at Dersingham. It is 600 yards in length and is provided. with two targets. This range was opened by the King on Saturday afternoon. Several hundreds of people belonging to Dersingham. and  the neighbourhood assembled on the roadside to watch the proceedings. Shortly before 3 30 two motor-cars arrived conveying his Majesty with members of his suite and house party. The King was met by his agent, Mr. Beck, who is also captain of the Volunteer company. His Majesty walked down the range with Mr. Beck, who explained the work that had been carried out or was in progress. This includes the draining and levelling of the ground. At the 200 yards firing point a guard of honour of 20 rank and file and  five sergeants, under the command of Lieutenant A. Knight, was mounted and received his Majesty with a salute. Colonel Cresswell, commanding the 3rd Volunteer Battalion Norfolk Regiment, was  also present. The King, having fired three shots at the left-hand target and scored three bull's-eyes, walked to the targets and inspected the markers' huts and the butts, after which he walked with his party across the heath on to Dersingham hill, where he entered his motor-car  and returned to Sandringham House.
A panoramic view across the Fen where the rifle range once was.