Cobbwebs News & Views


Here the Trust provides News & Views that are of interest to the family and to a wider audience.  They can be downloaded as PDF documents. 

Cobbwebs stay in this section for up to 6 months. Thereafter they go to the Cobbwebbs Archive.

Cobbwebs News & Views

Page 2 of 11

“TWO HUNDRED MILES” DEMPSEYNovember 2016

Our family tree includes a number of people who have achieved great success in their lives but remained relatively unknown to the world at large.  One such person is General Sir Miles Christopher Dempsey GBE KCB DSO MC who is #11336 on the tree.

By the start of the Second World War he had reached the rank of lieutenant colonel and was commanding officer of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment.  In November he was promoted to command the 13th Infantry Brigade, attached to the 5th Infantry Division, itself part of the British Expeditionary Force in France.  In common with other Allied units his brigade was forced back to Dunkirk, where it provided part of the rear-guard for the evacuation.  For his part in the evacuation Dempsey was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.  He had already been awarded a Military Cross on the Western Front in 1914.

In December 1942 he was promoted to lieutenant-general and commanded XIII Corps of the British Eighth Army during the North Africa Campaign.  He subsequently helped to plan the invasion of Sicily and personally led the assault on Sicily in 1943.  He later led the invasion of Italy across the Strait of Messina, in which his troops advanced more than 300 miles to the north before linking up with American troops at Salerno.  In North Africa, Sicily and Italy, Dempsey had gained a reputation for his expertise in Combined Operations.  This prompted Bernard Montgomery, his commanding officer, to select him to command the British Second Army in January 1944.

The Second Army was the main British force (although it also included Canadian Army units) involved in the D-Day landings, making successful assaults on Gold, Juno and Sword beaches on 6th June 1944.  Second Army made a rapid advance across France into Belgium, liberating Brussels and Antwerp in September.  On 15th October 1944, during a visit to the Second Army, King George VI knighted Dempsey on the battlefield.  It is thought he is the last person to have been so honoured by an English King on the battlefield.  Because of the fast and successful advance of more than 200 miles in a week Dempsey got the nickname “Two Hundred Miles” Dempsey.


CHURCHILL’S SALAMANDA HONOUREDNovember 2016

Nicknamed ‘The Salamanda’ by Churchill for his love of fire and astonishing ability to survive, Lieutenant General Bernard Freyberg (#3174 on the family tree) was honoured last week, on 5th November, 100 years to the day after he was awarded the last Victoria Cross of the Somme. Out in front he led his battalion in the capture of Beaucourt-sur-l’Ancre, storming through heavy enemy machine-gun fire and through enemy trenches. Despite having been wounded four times he refused to leave the battlefield until he had issued final instructions to his men demonstrating what the London Gazette cited as his ‘personality, valour and utter contempt of danger’.

His memory was honoured with a blue plaque at his childhood home, 8 Dynevor Road in Richmond unveiled at a special ceremony attended by his descendants and the High Commissioner of New Zealand. As a part of the ceremony a commemorative paving stone outside Richmond Station was also unveiled by the Mayor of Richmond and the present Lord Freyberg (#2401). One minute’s silence was observed, Last Post was played and a wreath was laid by Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry who himself received a Victoria Cross for bravery in Iraq in 2004.

Bernard Freyberg was arguably the most wounded man in the British Army; it is said that barely an inch of his body remained unscathed which sadly led to some ill health. Despite this he was a most successful Governor-General of New Zealand from 1945 until 1952 and later Lieutenant-Governor and Deputy-Constable of Windsor Castle. The Trust has written previously about the 1st Baron Freyberg in January 2009.

All pictures Crown Copyright


REMEMBRANCE DAY 2016 ...November 2016

The Trust believes it has a significant duty to remember, alongside all family members, those who gave their lives for our freedom in two World Wars.

Accordingly we will again post our annual memorial in the Daily Telegraph under the heading IN MEMORIAM THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE on Friday 11th November and this will be repeated in a special section of the Sunday Telegraph two days later.  The names and some details of the 48 Cobbolds killed in both wars may be found at:

KING & COUNTRY

We have also placed a cross in the Royal British Legion Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey which will be found in plot 266.  This is beside the footpath from the north gate to the north door of the Abbey, opposite St. Margaret’s.

Our pictures show the Field of Remembrance and our cross from a previous year.


NICKY’S a NEW MANOctober 2016

Back in March 2010, under the title LIFE’S FUN we wrote the endearing story of Nicky Cobbold (#1079 on the family tree), a 12-year-old boy in Melbourne, Australia. Here is the next chapter in this extraordinary tale, as told in the Campaspe News on 27th September 2016.

Nicky’s a new man. Life at Corop camp has him smiling from ear to ear!

Nicky Cobbold has endured more than any 18-year-old ever should. Born with Down syndrome, Nicky went under the knife for open heart bypass surgery at the age of two. When he was 10, he contracted leukæmia and underwent chemotherapy for three and a half years. Then, as if that wasn’t already enough, two years ago Nicky was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition which is continuing to attack his thyroid.

But in spite of all the health dramas and close shaves in his life, there is little to stop Nicky from smiling lately. And his new home in Corop – Camp Curumbene – has plenty to do with that. Parents Kate and Charles bought the large recreation camp earlier this year, shifting their belongings – and their lives – from Diamond Creek in Melbourne’s outer suburbs. The couple’s decision was down to a number of factors lining up at the same time, but finding a job for Nicky after high school was the most crucial.

Whether it’s judging a Camp Curumbene’s Got Talent show, helping co-ordinate the canoeing activities or simply chatting (and sometimes dancing) with all the primary school groups who come through – Nicky is there, ready and willing. “He’s just the most beautiful soul you could come across. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body,” mum Kate said. “This camp has been phenomenal for him. We couldn’t have made a better decision. But I tell you what, it’s fantastic for the kids to have Nicky here. A lot of them have never come across other young people with disabilities before. He’s an asset. We haven’t just provided him with a job. He’s actually a wonderful asset to the camp.”

Charles agreed, describing his son as a lover of people. “The camp has been fantastic for him in ways we didn’t anticipate, and all our staff and the local community have embraced him,” he said. “When his brother came up the other day, he said: ‘I don’t believe what Nicky is doing’.” But the smiles and bubbly personality can disguise the reality of Nicky’s journey. “He’s been through more than any kid should have to go through,” said Kate. And while Kate and Charles’ stoicism disguises it well, they too have endured more than any parent should.

Try telling any child – let alone one with Down syndrome – they have cancer and why they must keep coming back for operation after operation. “You go into a different world – the world of cancer,” Kate said. “There’s a huge amount of support, but a lot less for a child with a disability who has cancer. The staff were fabulous, but having a child with a disability was very difficult because he didn’t understand; he didn’t understand why people were always hurting him.” Fortunately the leukæmia eventually left Nicky’s body but Kate knows all too well what could have been. “I have a cancer group with mums whose kids were diagnosed at the same time, and out of five there’s probably two kids who didn’t make it,” she said. “Nicky did make it, but I still worry constantly about his health and about the cancer returning.” After 18 years ingrained in the world of disability and, all too often, the world of the gravely ill, the Cobbolds want to use their position to help those who have walked similar roads to theirs. In the short term they will make it easier for disability groups to stay at their camp by ensuring minimum numbers do not apply. In the long term they want to create an all-abilities playground area while also upgrading accommodation rooms which could be offered to cancer charities for families needing to get away.

“And maybe we could eventually offer a sheltered working environment for kids with disabilities,” Kate said. These are high goals but, after years of proving they can tackle any challenge thrown their way, there’s little reason to doubt Kate, Charles and Nicky Cobbold can turn it into reality. Camp Curumbene caters to school and non-school groups and has a capacity of 130. To find out more visit www.campcurumbene.com.au


GERALDEEN TATTON-BROWN née MORTIMERSeptember 2016

It is now over a year since Geraldeen (#1944 on the family tree) died, but because of the many kindnesses she and Peter bestowed upon our young family history trust – Cobbolds and Tatton-Browns are related twice over – we want to reproduce the eulogy given at her Service of Thanksgiving.

Geraldeen was born on 27th March 1919, at home, into the Mortimer family, in County Cavan, in the newly formed Irish Republic.

She and her elder sister June grew up on the family farm, Lakeview, near Mullagh.  Their early education was entrusted to nannies and governesses; Geraldeen told tales with glee, of how they got through 7 governesses in 5 years, one they liked stayed for 3.  Subsequently they were sent to boarding schools in Wales and England.  At Moreton Hall in Shropshire, the headmistress asked her to break in her young Welsh cob; an excellent excuse for missing dull lessons!  At finishing school in Switzerland she learnt French, and how to skate and ski, not a lot of use in Ireland, except when the lake at home froze over.

Returning home to Ireland, Geraldeen and June bought and trained young horses, hunting and show jumping them before selling them on.  One year, she drove her favourite horse, Zircon in his trap to the local train station, and loaded him and the trap on the train to Dublin.  Once there, she hitched him up to his trap again and drove him across Dublin to Ballsbridge, where he was stabled for the week at Dublin Showground.  She show-jumped him successfully there all week, stayed with friends, enjoying all the Show parties in the evenings.  At the end of the week they returned home to Cavan the same way.

In 1945, a friend of June’s, Nancy Saunders, brought her youngest brother Peter, a Naval Officer, to stay at Lakeview.  He was smitten by Geraldeen instantly, but her parents were very doubtful that a naval life would suit Geraldeen, and made them wait 2 years before allowing them to marry.  They were married in 1947, and moved house 9 times during Peter’s naval career.  Geraldeen had to adapt to living in towns, abroad and often being left alone with her 4 children while he was at sea, for months at a time.

She provided a loving stable home for her family, often with extra children, cousins or friends, staying for holidays.  Each summer, she took her children back to Lakeview for a few weeks, sharing her beloved home, and the freedom she had grown up with.  She never had formal employment, getting satisfaction from home life, children, dogs, ponies and her garden.  Her cooking was legendary and she found feeding hordes of hungry children an east task.  Large formal dinner parties in 1950s and 60s for visiting naval dignitaries in Caithness and Washington DC, were more daunting.

When Peter retired in 1975, they moved to Grasspark in North Devon, the first home that she had ever been able to choose.  She was very happy there as they farmed their hilly 40 acres, with an assortment of animals and livestock.  She had time to ride again and enjoyed visits from her children and grandchildren.  The deaths of her two beloved sons, Gerald in 1988 and Anthony in 2002, shook her world.  Later, she wrote in her diary: “I cried every day for more than a year, such very dear boys.  The death of one’s child is very deep, but one pays a high price for love.”  She found it so hard to understand how her God could let such a thing happen, not once but twice.

In her later years she was very crippled by arthritis and became housebound.  The pain of getting in and out of a car, or even up the steps into her garden was too great.  However, she never complained.  If you asked her how she was feeling that day, she usually changed the subject by asking what the day outside was like instead.  She looked forward to visits from family and friends, especially those from her daughter-in-law Olivia and great niece Fiona and her 11 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.

Despite failing eyesight, she enjoyed seeing the flowers in her garden and listening to the birdsong.  She knitted, made tapestry cushions for all her family, wrote letters and cards, and read large print books.  Peter died in 2009, after 62 years together.  She was sad, but relieved that his suffering was over.  Over the last 7 years she was looked after by a succession of live-in carers; over 40 different carers came for periods from 3 to 6 weeks.  To help her remember each of them, she wrote cryptic notes on each and scored them out of 10; this made it very easy to know who would be welcome back again!

So what is Geraldeen’s legacy to us all?  She was a true example of love and kindness, an uncritical, non-judgemental mother, with a wicked sense of fun, a twinkle in her eye when telling stories, and who always saw the good in everyone.  She was selfless throughout her life, always putting others first.  Her family will all carry part of her in their hearts, with their own memories, stories and thoughts, and may her life be an inspiration to us all.


JOHN SEDGWICK GREGSON GC (AM) September 2016

Writing back to his old school, Pangbourne College, from New Zealand, to notify a change of address John Gregson said “My whole life has been either at sea or connected with shipping such as piloting or marine surveying and I do not regret any of it.”

John left school at the age of 16 in September 1940 to become an apprentice with the Blue Funnel line.  His first brush with death came quickly when he was bombed and partially disabled on MV Dolius in the Firth of Forth in April 1941.  He again survived the threat in May 1942 when his ship the MV Mentor was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine in the Atlantic.  Little did he know that within 3 months he would again be intimately involved in high drama.

On 12th August 1942, by then serving in MV Deucalion, he was part of a convoy of 14 merchant ships selected for a vital convoy (Operation Pedestal) to Malta.  Deucalion was heavily bombed during the voyage and too badly damaged to maintain convoy speed.  So she carried on separately through the Mediterranean with one escort.  After further air attacks which led to fire on board, the order was given to abandon ship.  As the ship sank, John rescued another crew member before being rescued himself by HMS Bramham.  Subsequently he was awarded the Albert Medal for Gallantry and the Lloyds War Medal in 1971.

Citation, The Albert Medal, The London Gazette. January/February 1943

The ship was set on fire by the explosion of a torpedo during an attack by enemy aircraft.  The flames spread rapidly and almost immediately orders were given to abandon ship.  One of the ship’s gunners, however, was pinned under a raft.  Apprentice Gregson immediately went to his assistance and, with help freed him.  The gunner had sustained severe injuries and, as it was impossible to get him into a boat or on to a raft, he was dropped overboard.  Gregson dived into the sea after him and, in the darkness, towed his helpless shipmate to a ship which picked them up, a distance of about 600 yards.

But for Apprentice Gregson’s gallant and determined action, undertaken with complete disregard of his own personal safety, the injured man would have had little chance of survival.

Afterwards John said “I swam with him.  They said I saved his life, but I was saving my own at the same time so I don’t really take much credit for it.”

In 1971 the Albert Medal became obsolete and holders were to receive the George Cross in its place.  It took some years to find John in New Zealand for the exchange to take place.  He refused.  “I kept mine.  I said it was given to me by the King so I will keep it, thank you very much.”

John went through the rest of the war unscathed, leaving Blue Funnel and sailing another four vessels owned by Brocklebanks Ltd.  In 1949 he obtained his Masters Certificate and joined Orient Line.  Four years later he became permanently resident in New Zealand, joining the Union Steam ship Company and later Shell coastal tankers.  He stayed with Shell for eight years before becoming a pilot in 1961 and working at nine New Zealand ports during the next 16 years.  In 1977 he re-joined Union Steam and sailed on coastal tankers for the next decade before finally retiring in 1987.


TOLLY COBBOLD / EASTERN ARTS 4TH EXHIB...August 2016

Five prizes were awarded in 1983.  The winners were Graham Crowley, William Henderson, Paul Huxley, John Virtue and Alison Wilding.  Each received £1,750.

The selection panel comprised Robert Medley (artist), Caryl Hubbard (Chairman of the Contemporary Art Society), Adrian Berg, Chairman (artist), Tony Cragg (artist) and Richard Wentworth (artist).

The exhibition opened at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and went on to Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich; the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford; the Barbican Art Gallery, London; the Talbot Rice Art Centre, Edinburgh and the Leeds City Art Gallery.

Graham Crowley whose work ‘3B 1982’ we show was born in Romford, Essex in 1950 and studied at St. Martin’s School of Art from 1968 to 1972 and at the Royal College of Art from 1972 to 1975.


SPOONER and his SPOONERISMSAugust 2016

John Chevallier Cobbold’s daughterAnna Frances Cobbold (1830-1907) #184 on the family tree, married as his second wife The Very Reverend Dean Edward Spooner (1821-1899) Rector of Hadleigh, Suffolk.  The Dean was a cousin of Revd. William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930), scholar of New College, Oxford.  Despite lecturing on ancient history and philosophy for more than 60 years he is chiefly remembered for his absent-minded habit of mixing up syllables to comic effect when he spoke.  Hence spoonerisms!  He disliked his reputation for muddling his words and many of the examples attributed to him are probably apocryphal.  He did, however, admit once to asking his parishioners to sing a hymn “Kinkering Congs Their Titles Take”

Other examples are:

“The weight of rages will press hard upon the employer”

“It is kisstomery to cuss the bride”

“Mardon me padam but you are occupewing my pie”


REVOLVER AT THE READYAugust 2016

An entry in the East Anglian Magazine of September 1975 was drawn to our attention recently.  It was a letter from Mrs Rosa Osborne who was a maid to Rosa Gibb of 7 Cardigan Street, Ipswich. She wrote:

“A friend brought us some old EAMs, including one about the Cobbold family, not only of the brewery but of the bank.  I worked for the Gibb family for nearly 50 years.  Mr Gibb was manager of Bacon Cobbold’s bank in Ipswich which later became Lloyd’s Bank.  He died in 1925.

In those days, the manager lived above the bank and, I have been told, went round each night with a revolver.”

Our architect’s sketch shows Bacon, Cobbold Tollemache & Co.’s new banking premises which opened for business in December 1890. A contemporary  commentator enthused “Occupying the finest trading site in the borough, and therefore in the county of Suffolk, the building is worthy of its proud and commanding position, and splendidly suited to the extensive operations of a great local firm which has for more than a century been identified with the agricultural and manufacturing fortunes of East Anglia.”

Our other picture shows the same building some time after it became the Ipswich branch of Lloyd’s following its take-over at the beginning of the 20th Century.


SILKEN STRANDS 2July 2016

The Trust is happy to report the following acquisitions made during May and June 2016.

CDs of Downton Abbey and Dr Thorne, the work of Julian Fellowes(#3354 on the family tree) and Series 1 & 2 of Grantchester, written by James Runcie (#3786)

Mick Mills Testimonial Match Souvenir Magazine (26th April 1976) and Sportsmen’s Dinner Menu (29th March 1976) signed by Bobby Robson, Danny Blanchflower, Alf Ramsey, Jimmy Hill, Roy East and John Cobbold(#575)

A short length of 18th century ribbon originally belonging to Sarah Cobboll (#45) and passed to William Cobbold (#59) and Henstridge Cobbold (#2873)

Photographic card of John Sedwick Gregson (#10872) holder of the George Cross

Another copy of Margaret Catchpole, The Suffolk Girl but this one a ‘Two Shilling Shocker’ published about 1880 by Ward, Lock & Co.


SILKEN STRANDS 1 ...July 2016

The Trust warmly thanks donors for the following gifts:

From Mrs Pat Godbold: A Tolly Times Special Issue following the death of John Cobbold(#575 on the family tree) in 1983 and a copy of News of the Blues, also carrying tributes to ‘a great man’ together with the Memorandum and Articles of Association of The Ipswich Cricket, Football, & Athletic Ground, Limited incorporated on 18th August 1905.

From Rowell Bell a number of articles and newspaper cuttings together with a post card depicting the drawing room at Glemham Hall in 1906, some years before the Cobbolds arrived.

From Humphrey Cobbold (#645) a QEII cup and saucer from The Patron’s Lunch on The Mall on 12th June 2016.  A number of family members were present.

From the Keeper (#539) 4 books for the Trust library:

Match of my Life by 16 ITFC players’

Time on the Grass by Bobby Robson

Margaret Catchpole by Richard Cobbold (#106), (the Boydell & brewer edition)

Fascinating People of Battle by Joan C Guyll including an account of the life of Elizabeth Anne Gilman née Francis (#74)


James Humphreys, his……LETTERS from WAT...July 2016

This, our latest book is now published and available from this website.

In 1880 Gertrude Cobbold (1855-1936) (#300 on the family tree) married Noel Algernon Humphreys (1837-1923) at St. Saviour’s Church, Paddington, London.  He was the Assistant Registrar General for England and Wales and spent much of his life designing and developing the Census.

Noel Algernon’s grandfather, James Humphreys (1776-1833) (#10378) is the author of these letters which have been edited and contextualised by the Trust’s author in residence, historian Clive Hodges.  Here is a summary:

‘When James Humphreys, a businessman from Birmingham, arrived in Brussels in March 1815, he could not have foreseen the momentous events which would unfold a few miles south of the city just three months later.  His letters home to a friend and to a family member provide a civilian’s perspective of Waterloo, of the panic which spread through the streets of Brussels as the battle raged and of its horrific aftermath, described in grisly detail as Humphreys wandered the blood-stained battlefield.

This important collection, published here for the first time, includes a letter from a young Scottish sergeant, Alex Cummings, who lodged with Humphreys prior to the battle during which he received a serious facial wound.

Interlaced with dramatic accounts of the battle, Humphrey’s letters also address more prosaic matters: his business activities; his concern for his wife and children at home in England and the peculiarities of life as an Englishman abroad.  In addition, they convey his strident opinions on European politics and on the punishment he felt should be meted out to Napoleon upon his eventual defeat’.

Dr. Louise Carter, Lecturer in History at University Campus Suffolk says in her Foreword ‘On every level then, this is a rich and multi-layered source, and military and social historians alike will find much to savour in this collection’.

This book will appeal also to our many friends and family members, and the Trust need hardly remind readers that their purchases of this and other books and cards from this website help finance the Trust’s work.


CONGRATULATIONS MA’AM!July 2016

Like millions of others the Trust sends warmest congratulations to Her Majesty upon her 90th birthday.

We learned from an article in The Sunday Telegraph by Charlotte Runcie (#6079 on the family tree) that Carol Ann Duffy, the poet laureate had announced that she would not be writing a poem to mark the occasion.  Consequently this Sunday paper ran a competition for readers to submit their own poems.  The response was overwhelming, and   a winner and 5 ‘highly commended’ were chosen.  We reproduce below the winning entry entitled Monday Morning ER by Jenny Land but before doing so we want to quote the last 2 or 3 lines from two of those ‘highly commended’. 

Francis Phillips closed his poem

The Coronation with:

 

My secret wish, which lasted many years:

To join those rolling ranks of grenadiers.

The last four lines of Jackie Wilkin’s poem, The Royal Lines of England were:

Bloodlines, chance and temperament

All meet in Queen and steed:

But on this 90th birthday, Ma’am,

Stamina trumps speed.

Charming and apposite don’t you think?

Monday Morning: ER

Forget the ermine, the polish and shine-

there she is as ever in sensible tweed,

resolutely pushing out of mind her restless horses,

the four corgis that need a tromp along

 the burn through new June leaves-

you’d think more than six decades on

the ministers could revise their policies,

the officers dispatch each combat plane-

yet here we are living our arrowed days

through urban sprawl, through e-updates and floods,

knowing somewhere in a quiet room

we dreamed about in bookish childhood

the red box clicks open: our world resumes

afresh, anchored by that blue eyed gaze.


Capt. Egerton LEVETT-SCRIVENER (1857-1...July 2016

Egerton Levett, a colonel's son, was born at Milford Hall, Staffordshire. He joined the Royal Navy and was later posted as an aide to Admiral Willies.  In the course of his duties he met his future wife, Mabel Desborough Parkes (#914 on the family tree), the daughter of Ambassador Parkes (#849) who was then serving as Queen Victoria's ambassador to China and Korea.  They were married in 1884 and their son Evelyn was born the following year.  Mabel's father wrote "one of his happiest letters...written in January 1885 to his daughter, Mrs Levett, on the memorable occasion when he became a grandfather..."

In 1889, a year after his father's death, Egerton inherited Sibton Abbey Manor, Yoxford in Suffolk, from his aunt.  The property which included the ruins of what was the only Cistercian abbey in East Anglia had been in the Scrivener family since its purchase in the early seventeenth century by John Scrivener, son of an Ipswich barrister and bailiff grown rich in the wool trade.  Egerton changed his name to Levett-Scrivener in accordance with his aunt's wishes.  In 1890 after 6 years of marriage and the birth of 2 sons, Mabel was killed in a riding accident.  She is buried at St. Peter's, Sibton.  A year later Egerton married his cousin, Mary Mirehouse, (who is also buried at St. Peter's), and three daughters followed.

After retirement from the Royal Navy Egerton became Bursar at Keble College, Oxford where the Butterfield Chapel, opened in 1876, was built with a gift of £40,000 from William Gibbs (1790-1875) (#11076) of Tyntesfield near Bristol.

Egerton became an avid agriculturist and farmer on the Sibton Abbey estate.  He recorded all his labour costs, monitored rents, tracked produce and greatly improved the farmland.

The Levett-Scrivener family has long standing ties to the Royal Navy, Egerton's son, Evelyn Harry (after his grandfather) followed his father and their ancestors are said to include Admiral William Bligh, captain of the ill-fated HMS Bounty.




THE HON. PETER STRUTT MC - Managing Di...July 2016

Peter Strutt (#10905 on the family tree) was at the helm of the Tolly Cobbold brewing business during troubled times.  He had a full and remarkable life which we share with you by means of an abridged version of his obituary.

He won an MC with the Coldstream Guards in 1945 and subsequently had a successful career in the brewery business.  The citation for his MC paid tribute to his inspirational leadership.

Peter Algernon Strutt, the fourth child of the 3rd Lord Belper, was born in London on June 18th 1924.  He had three half-siblings by his father's first marriage to Eva Bruce (who subsequently married the 6th Earl of Rosebery).  Michael, one of his half-brothers, died beside Prince George, Duke of Kent, in an air crash in 1942.  Peter's mother, Angela, was the daughter of Douglas Tollemache, the founder of Tollemache Breweries in East Anglia.

The Strutts were Derbyshire spinners who traced their line back to Jedediah Strutt, born in 1726, and owed much of their fortune to their friendship with the Arkwrights, founders of the spinning frame that revolutionised the industry.  The Belper title was created in 1856 for Jedediah's grandson, the Liberal politician Edward Strutt.  The young Peter was brought up at the family seat, Kingston Hall, Northamptonshire.  His elder brother Ronald, afterwards the 4th Lord Belper, and his sister Lavinia, later Duchess of Norfolk, were among the most noted equestrians of their generation, and as a boy Peter was an enthusiastic follower of the Quorn.

In 1937 he was to act as a page at the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, but an ear infection prevented him from attending.  The King, hearing of his disappointment, exceptionally granted him a Coronation medal.  Peter Strutt was educated at Eton before being commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in 1943.  In October the following year he joined the 5th Battalion in Holland.  Soon afterwards, while attending a briefing in a small house near the front line, a large enemy shell landed close by.  Strutt, following his training regulations, dived under the nearest table.  When he emerged a few moments later he found all the other, more experienced officers sitting calmly in their seats.  "Dropped your pencil, Peter?" his CO asked sardonically.

One night, after a hard-fought action in a small German town, he had billeted his platoon in a bank and saw a loaf of bread on the counter.  He had a penchant for nibbling at any food left lying around, and tore off a corner and ate it.  The fleeing Germans had laced it with rat poison and he was so ill that he had to have his stomach pumped out.

Strutt retired from the Army in 1947 and then moved to Suffolk, where he bought an estate and became a director of Tollemache Breweries.  The company subsequently merged with Cobbold Breweries to become Tollemache and Cobbold Breweries.  In Germany Strutt had adopted an Alsation puppy.  He now acquired two giant Poodles, one of which occasionally performed on stage in amateur dramatics.  These were followed by an African Green monkey called Zulu.  The creature formed a close attachment to his master which could transform itself into a passionate jealousy of any other friends or visitors - particularly females. From its vantage point on top of a dresser it used to hurl plates at Strutt's girlfriends, and made no exception of his future wife.

Zulu's fate was finally sealed when he landed on the head of a colonel of the Coldstream Guards (later a major-general) and carried out a vicious attack.  Thereafter the family confined itself to a more amenable menagerie consisting of ornamental pheasants, ducks, geese and a St Bernard.

In 1970 Strutt moved to Stutton Hall, with its fine Tudor house overlooking the Stour estuary, where he kept a pet fox in the Elizabethan walled garden.  In 1977, when Tollemache & Cobbold Breweries was purchased by Ellerman Lines, the shipping company, he became the brewery's managing director.  He later became its chairman and joined the board of Ellerman Lines.  Strutt had a number of other business interests - he was also a director of the Britannia Building Society - and was involved in various charities and in local politics.  He served as High Sheriff of Suffolk and was a Deputy Lieutenant of the county.  He was a keen shot and skied until he was in his seventies.

His friends remember him as a great family man and a generous host, both at Stutton Hall and at the estate that for many years he rented in Ross-shire.

Abridged by Anthony Cobbold from the Daily Telegraph of November 17th 2007.

Note:  Members of Sir Richard Arkwright's family appear elsewhere in the family tree; see #799.


Brigadier – General FREDERICK GORE AN...July 2016

Frederick Gore Anley (#3005 on the family tree) was the son of a colonel in the Royal Artillery.  He was commissioned into the Essex Regiment on 28th August 1884.  He quickly saw active service in the Sudan during 1884 and 85.  Later, in 1896 he was seconded to the Egyptian Army, taking part in the Dongola (1896) and Nile (1899) expeditions.  For a short while in 1899 he was Governor of Wadi Halfa province.

During the South African War he commanded a mounted infantry battalion at the relief of Kimberley and at Paardeberg.  He was twice mentioned in despatches.  From 1904 to 1906 he served with the Macedonian Gendarmerie and in February 1912 he assumed command of the 2nd Battalion the Essex regiment which post he still held on the outbreak of war.

He took his battalion to France as part of12th Brigade, 4th Division.  He commanded at the battle of Le Cateau (26th August 1914) and during the following retreat.  On 4th October 1914, aged 50, he was promoted to command 12th Brigade where he remained in post until 4th June 1916 including the battles of the Marne, Aisne, and First and Second Battles of Ypres.  This made him one of the most experienced brigade commanders in the BEF.

In November 1916 he was appointed Commander Administrative HQ and Training Centre Machine Gun Corps (Heavy Branch), later the Tank Corps, a post he held until June 1917.  This appointment was controversial as Anley had no experience of tanks and - apparently - little faith in them.  The GSO2, Lt. Col. J F C Fuller, described Anley as 'a pleasent little man, the problem was in inverse ratio to his size; he may have been a good infantry Brigadier but he knew nothing about tanks'.

Anley returned to infantry duties in June 1917 as GOC 234th Brigade, 75th Division which he commanded in Palestine.  He fell sick on 19th November 1917 and after a period on half pay was appointed GOC Newhaven Garrison (April - December 1918) and then GOC No.8 Demobilisation Area (December1918 - March 1919) before retiring from the army on 19th October 1919.  He was later County Director of the Sussex Branchof the Red Cross.


SILKEN STRANDS -1May 2016

The Trust wishes to thank Muhammad Mojlum Khan for the gift of a copy of his book The Muslim 100; Rowell Bell for information, a post card and cuttings and Jocelyn Norden for more information and photographs.


OUR BEECH – 4 MONTHS LATERMay 2016

In a January Cobbweb we told you of the Trust’s donation of a Cut-leaf or Fern-leaf Beech to the Ipswich Arboretum in continuation of the family’s long and affectionate association with Christchurch Park. You may remember that it was chosen for its narrow lance-shaped dark green leaves giving the tree its feathery graceful form.

David Miller, whose father Tony was Head Gardener of the Upper Arboretum from 1966 to 1991, and Steve Leech who is responsible for over 5,000 trees, planted ‘our’ Cut-leaf in January and sent these two pictures this week. They demonstrate their excellent work and the health of our gift.


TOLLY COBBOLD / EASTERN ARTS 3RD EXHIB...May 2016

Six prizes were awarded from the 81 works selected to be shown in this the third National Exhibition which toured from May to October, 1981. Each received £1,500 and an additional prize of £500 funded by Tollemache and Cobbold Breweries was awarded to Brian Falconbridge for the best work entered from the Eastern Counties.

The Exhibition opened at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, came back to Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich and the Castle Museum in Norwich before going to the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and then on to the Mappin Art Gallery in Sheffield.

The Selection Panel, illustrated, comprised, left to right, Paul Huxley, David Brown, Tim Head, Patrick George (Chairman) and Bridget Riley. David Brown was Assistant Keeper of Modern Art at the Tate Gallery and the others were all artists themselves.

Brian Falconbridge, illustrated, was born in Norfolk in 1950 and attended Canterbury College of Art, Goldsmiths’ School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art. His winning entry was titled Nada Te Turbe (Still Life). At the time of the exhibition he was teaching art at Eton, Goldsmiths’ and the Slade.


ELIZABETH ANNE GILMAN – CODE BRAKERMay 2016

Anne (1924-2012) #74 on the family tree who was born on St. Anne’s Day and baptised by her grandfather, Rev. Robert Russell Cobbold (1853-1925) spent her childhood in Northamptonshire with fond memories of family seaside holidays in Salthouse, Norfolk. She was clearly an impressionable child with a strong sense of justice. Her brother Dick became a Benedictine Mink and Anne’s memoir records her concern for the poor and particularly for the thousands of working men who during the Great Depression marched to London asking for work. She recalls the good woman who resorted to stealing eggs to feed her starving family.

As a 17 year old Anne lied about her age and joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Unknown to her family at the time Anne was one of the 9000 women selected for their integrity and intelligence to work at Bletchley Park. As a signatory to the Official Secrets Act she could not, and never did, reveal the crucial part she played whilst there. On the Bletchley Park Roll of Honour she is merely listed as WRNS personnel. In 1944 she was posted to Colombo in Ceylon (as it then was) where she worked in the Royal Navy code breakers and wireless interception centre.

Based at the Far East Combined Bureau which was housed in an Indian boys’ school called Pembroke College she became a Japanese code breaker. Sadly she never received a medal in recognition of her work because her stay in Ceylon fell one month short of the 1 year qualifying period.

After the war Anne went up to Girton College, Cambridge where she met and married Peter Francis and they had 6 children including 2 sets of twins. Anne’s concern for the less fortunate never left her. In addition to her own children she became a foster mother to two young girls and served as surrogate mother to three young nurses from Sri Lanka. Anne recognised the benefits of diversity long before it became fashionable. She was one who helped win the war and went on to win the peace too.



Page 2 of 11

Registered Charity No.1144757.|A company limited by guarantee, registered in England & Wales No. 7783492|All content is Copyright to The Cobbold Family History Trust © 2017