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

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FLT. SGT. JOHN HENRY COBBOLDFebruary 2017

John (#5218 on the family tree), born in Ellesmere, Shropshire in 1924, married in Cockermouth, Cumberland in 1947 was lost at sea in 1950. He had joined the RAF and risen to the rank of Flight Sergeant and was with 202 Squadron (based at Aldergrove) on a meteorological flight 15 miles off Barra Head in the Outer Hebrides when his plane, a Halifax ST 798 was lost on December 29th.

The crew members on the plane were: 

  • Sqn. Ldr. Terence Anthony Cox (Pilot)
  • Plt. Off. Donald Nattris (Pilot)
  • Sgt. Edward Arthur Keeble (Navigator)
  • Flt. Sgt. John Henry Cobbold (Signaller)
  • Sgt. John Frederick Stanley (Signaller)
  • Sgt. William Richard Martindale (Engineer)
  • Sgt. Stuart Gordon Purches (Air Met. Observer)
  • Sgt. Gerald Walklate (Air Met. Observer)

The cause of the crash has never been determined but some reports suggested the Halifax was on fire before impact. On 16th January 1951 a Fleetwood trawler, Milford Countess was fishing 20 miles west of Castle Bay, Barra when they found the body of Squadron Leader Terence Anthony Cox DSO DFC in their nets with some debris from the plane. Cox had married the daughter of a London doctor the previous March. The other crew members have not been found.


AN INVITATION TO CYCLISTS...January 2017

The Trust is organising The Cobbold History Charity Ride 2017 to take place on 30th April 2017 starting and finishing at Holywells, Ipswich IP3 0PG. It is a non competitive ride for Family and Friends comprising 3 routes: long, medium and short, (the longest about 100+ km) to allow for all competence levels. Under 18s will have to show parental consent and under 16s must be accompanied by a adult.

The warning order is being sent out now with first details.

If you would like to receive a copy of the warning order (without commitment) please email anthonycobbold@tiscali.co.uk

Our picture shows 12 Cobbolds who rode for the Stroke Association in May 2014. They had a great ride!


SILKEN STRANDS 2January 2017

The Trust is pleased to record the following purchases:

2 portraits of Sarah Frances Cobbold née Westhorp, #151 on the family tree and her husband Dr Rowland Townshend Cobbold #150, together with two silhouettes of Richard Moseley Westhorp #1973 and his wife Anne Clayton #1974.

3 brass Registered Office plates for Tollemache’s Breweries Limited; Cobbold & Co. Limited and Tollemache & Cobbold Breweries Limited; a quantity of Cobbold brewery ephemera and a quantity of the copper printing blocks used to create the Souvenir of the Bi-centenary of the Cliff Brewery, Ipswich for Cobbold & Co., 1723-1923

An original watercolour ‘The Ratcatcher’ by Emily Caroline Cobbold #157 painted in August 1843 just under 4 years before she married Reverend John Farr #158.

‘Rhymes on Passing Events – September 26th 1919 to June 26th 1920’ by W N Cobbold #289. This is a nasty modern reprint but better than nothing for the time being. It complements some of WNC’s original publications already held in the Trust.

‘My First International’ - being interesting reminiscences of famous footballers, including W N Cobbold #289 – published about 1910 by Cassell’s magazine.

A 4-page original manuscript by Elizabeth Cobbold #58 being the draft for a play or a poem. Elizabeth died in 1824.

The catalogue for ‘Life in Georgian England 1714-1830’ an exhibition in conjunction with Colchester and Ipswich Museums staged in Nanjing Museum, China which featured Thomas Gainsborough’s ‘Mrs Mary Cobbold with her daughter, Ann in a landscape with lamb and ewe’ c 1752,oil on canvas. Mary is #32 and Ann #46. This painting was the subject of the Trust’s annual greeting card in 2012.

A post card of a 1959 AEC Regent double deck bus HPV 36 advertising ‘TOLLY COBBOLD – Your local Beers are Best!’

A 1982 Kingsway Music 45 rpm vinyl ‘Heartbeat’ produced by Paul Cobbold and engineered by Paul Cobbold and Derek Murray.

A colour post card by Raphael Tuck (Art Publishers to their majesties The King and Queen) of ‘Cobbold’s Point to Bawdsey, Felixstowe’

A post card of the Old Manor House on St Margaret’s Green, Ipswich, dated about 1913.

A print of Margaret Catchpole’s Cottage, Brandeston.


SILKEN STRANDS 1January 2017

The Trust regrets that due to the volume of work resulting from web tree correspondence and administration (accounts, compliance etc.) it is no longer possible to record here full details of gifts with donors’ names. Accordingly the Trust wishes to warmly thank the following donors with the assurance that their gifts are greatly appreciated, listed in no particular order:

 

Financial Gifts

  • Shirley Fowley
  • Tim Cobbold
  • John Hallum
  • Charles & Kate Cobbold
  • Fiona Brodie
  • Nicoline Boxer
  • Pat Godbold
  • Rowell Bell
  • Dick & Jeannie Cobbold
  • T & P Milling
  • Bill Humphreys
  • Martin Riley
  • Alexandra Tatton-Brown
  • Paul Heap

 

Gifts in Kind (including information)

  • Friends of Christchurch Park
  • Friends of Wortham Church
  • Rowell & JoAnne Bell
  • Carolyn Cobbold
  • Felsted School
  • Caroline Markham
  • Bernard Girma
  • Russell Roe
  • Andrew Worrell
  • Chris heath
  • Amy Fletcher
  • Erika Bulow-Osborne
  • Serge Comini
  • Roger Jacobs
  • Ian Lennox
  • Neil Clayton
  • Peter Bell
  • Erica Burrows
  • Al Simpson
  • Malcolm Dyer
  • W E Cobbold
  • The Ipswich Society

 Donors who accidentally remain nameless – please forgive us.


HE DIED ON CHRISTMAS DAYJanuary 2017

The Trust offers sincere condolences to the sons of John Sedgwick Gregson GC (#10872 on the family tree) who died in New Zealand on Christmas day 2016. We wrote a Cobbweb about John in September last year and reproduce below his obituary from the Sunday Telegraph.

“John Gregson won the George Cross for saving the life of a shipmate during a torpedo attack in the Mediterranean in 1942. Gregson was serving as an apprentice on the 'Deucalion', a merchant vessel of 7,500 tons. The ship was one of a convoy of 14 that left Gibraltar an August 10th 1942 with the object of breaking through to the beleaguered island fortress of Malta with much needed food and fuel supplies.

But after being attacked by two Heinkel torpedo bombers, the Deucalion was hit on the starboard quarter; one of the holds burst into flames and the order was given to abandon ship. Lifeboats were being lowered and the blaze was spreading rapidly when one of the AA gunners was found pinned down under a raft. Gregson helped to get the gunner free but the man had sustained severe injuries and when it proved impossible to get him into a boat or on to a raft there was no alternative but to drop him overboard. Gregson dived into the sea after him but, in the darkness, he could not find a life boat so he towed him a distance of about 600 yards to a ship which picked them up. The citation stated: "But for Apprentice Gregson's gallant action undertaken with complete disregard of his own safety, the injured man would have had little chance of survival"

Gregson was invested with the Albert Medal by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on March 30th 1943. In 1971 when the Albert Medal was revoked by Royal Warrant Gregson elected to keep the original medal he received from the King, rather than exchange it for the George Cross.

Amongst his other medals, he also held the Lloyds War Medal for Bravery in Saving Life at Sea. This medal was instituted by Lloyds of London in 1940 to be awarded to officers and men of the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets for exceptional gallantry at sea in wartime.


THIS IS A FITTING TRIBUTE….January 2017

‘This is a fitting tribute to a great man’ wrote Ben Gummer, Ipswich’s MP following the unveiling of an Armillary Sphere Sundial restored in memory of Dr John Blatchly. We have written about John before but Ben Gummer’s words describe our feelings so completely that we reproduce them here.

“John was a true universal man. A scientist, teacher, headmaster and historian, there were few intellectual avenues to which he could not turn his remarkable and capacious mind. Not that you were made aware of it; he wore his learning very lightly, which in turn meant his wisdom shone through.

His study was the physical manifestation of his mind: books piled everywhere, a wide view over Ipswich from the window, and a desk with neat piles of paper on the many matters that he was writing about at that moment. This was an intelligence that was wide-ranging, open-minded but never chaotic.

That was not why we all miss him, however: the reason we miss John is because of his kindness, his generosity and his energy. I have learned more in this job than in anything else I have ever done, the greatest lesson being that one enthusiastic person gets more done than a thousand clever or well-meaning people. You can do nothing with intelligent thoughts or good intentions, not without the energy to make them happen. And that is why we all prized John so greatly.

He gave of his energy freely, even helping me every year with a local idea for the front of my Christmas card and a suitable description within. It was John who made Ipswich appreciate its great and admirable history once again. He was a local historian of the first rank – a man who understood our town and our county better than anyone and was able, crucially, to put that in the context of what was happening in the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, at the time.

He did it because he cared about Ipswich. He recognised history as important because it made us value not just our buildings and our collective past. That is why his regular articles for the East Anglian Daily Times mattered so much to him: they helped the people of Suffolk understand themselves a bit better, and the treasures that are inheritance.

More importantly still, it showed the people of Ipswich and of Suffolk what treasures there are in our county town and what a special history we enjoy – something we are prone to forget and some in the county are prone to ignore. This passion lived not just on the page but in stone. The formerly redundant churches of St. Lawrence, St. Nicholas, St. Peter and – soon St. Clement, owe their restoration and refurbishment to John’s skilled and impassioned chairmanship of the Ipswich Historic Churches Trust.

The lovely sculpture of Thomas Wolsey, our most famous kinsman, is on Curzon Plain only because John made it so. John’s energy made things happen and it was an energy that was infectious. Five minutes in his company was always five minutes well spent, and you always left feeling better than when you started.

All of which means that his loss is a grievous one for Ipswich. We miss him immensely. How lovely to commemorate this universal man with an armillary sphere – a globe sundial – in Christchurch Park. A man of learning, of wisdom, of energy and of light”.


AN ARMILLARY SPHERE SUNDIAL January 2017

The Trust was pleased to be present, along with many colleagues, at the unveiling of the Armillary Sphere Sundial in the Ipswich Lower Arboretum restored by public subscription (ourselves included) in memory of the great Dr John Blatchly. John, a former headmaster of Ipswich School who wrote the foreword for Cobbold & Kin, was a good friend of the Trust and would have approved enthusiastically.

This sundial’s exact origin is obscure but it was probably installed by the Fonnereau family as the centre-piece of the gardens on the north-west side of Christchurch’s Wilderness Pond. Over the years it fell victim to at least one reorganisation and ended up in a sorry state at the back of Christchurch Mansion. Its restoration was led by David Miller, the equally enthusiastic Chairman of the Friends of Christchurch Park.

Armillaries date back to ancient times and without going into excessive detail they are designed to show Apparent Solar Time. Adjustments are necessary to compensate for the Earth’s oval orbit around the sun and of course for its distance from the Greenwich meridian. Correctly positioned the gnomon arrow (the part which casts a shadow) will point at the North Star; but what a sad reflection of our times that our newly restored armillary was denied this most important part on grounds of the ubiquitous health & safety regulations!

The restoration work on the plinth was carried out by Suffolk Masonry Services and that on the armillary itself by expert, Robert Foster. Lifechart’s proprietor, Martin Surgey, one of our trustees, designed and produced an excellent interpretation board similar to those produced for Holywells Park.


CHRISTMAS 201616th December 2016

Here’s wishing all our family, friends and visitors a very Happy Christmas and a safe and peaceful New Year! 


“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.



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