Cyril and Frances. Cyril served during WW1 as Second Lieutenant in the 1/4 Suffolk Regiment.

During the War Cyril had lost many friends and fellow soldiers from Ipswich. Read Edward Spink’s letters home which show’s Cyril’s journey to France at the beginning of the War.

Suffolk Regiment, 4th Battalion:

During early May 1915, the 4th Battalion began preparations for the attack on Aubers Ridge at Neuve Chapelle. in support of the French offensive on the outskirts of Arras. The Battalion as part of the Three British Corps. The Battalion took over trenches near Bois du Biez and Port Arthur, on the 5th-6th of May. On entering the trenches, the Germans shelled their positions vigorously. On the 9th the main attack began, making little headway. Lieutenant Donald Pretty was wounded when shell exploded at 16.45hrs on the roof of the dug-out, where he was sheltering. Donald never regained consciousness and died of his wounds in Bethune hospital days later. He was the first officer from Ipswich to be killed in the war.

Following the 9th of May the 4th Battalion suffered over 100 casualties, remaining in the Neuve Chappelle area, carrying out their trench duties, fortifying their new positions, while taking heavy shelling and sniping from the Germans, as they tried to repel the small gain from the offensive. The Battalion came out of the Line on the 19th of May returning to billets near Pont du Hem.

Evening Star – Wednesday, 26th May 1915 – IPSWICH SOLDIER KILLED – Mr. George Spinks, of 15, Star Lane, Ipswich, has been notified of the death of his son, Private Edward James Spinks, of the 4th Suffolks. Mr. Spinks has received the following letter from Lieutenant Catchpole; – Dear Mr. Spinks, It is with the deepest sympathy that I write to you to tell you your son, Private Edward Spinks, has given his life for his country. I wish I could see you to tell you about his death. Edward died a true soldier. Words of mine cannot tell you how I admired your son for his pluck and cheeriness. He was always cheerful and was a great help to me in my work. He was hit by shrapnel, and we did all in our power for him. But without avail. It will be a consolation to you he did not suffer, and I can only add he will be a great loss to the whole team, with whom he was so popular. I know your grief and that of your daughter must be great, but it must be a consolation to you to know he died bravely with his face towards the enemy. Edward was buried in a quiet spot in the rear, and his grave has been marked by a cross. How I miss such men as your son. God grant the war may end soon and put a stop to this terrible loss of life. With deepest sympathy, yours sincerely, CYRIL CATCHPOLE, Lieutenant, M.G.O. P.S. – I am sending on to you his personal effects.

E.A.D.T. – Saturday, 29th May 1915 – Mr. Fitch, of 165, Wherstead Road, has received a letter from Lieutenant Cyril Catchpole, informing him of the death of his son, Private Walter Charles Fitch, of the 4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Lieutenant Catchpole adds: “He was buried near his pal, Ted Spinks, in a quiet orchard in the rear of the firing line. Your son was buried in the morning, and Ted Spinks went out and gathered some flowers and placed them on your son’s grave. The same afternoon poor Ted Spinks was killed by shrapnel. I shall miss your son and Ted, as they were both in my team.”





A painting held in the Ipswich museum collection.

Courtesy visit by HMS Bleasdale. HMS Bleasdale had served in WW2, taking part in the Dieppe raids in July 1942, operating in defence of the English channel, seeing action during D-Day, giving fire support on Juno beach. Later 1945 she sailed to the far east, returning in late 1945, for the demilitarization of Germany.  After the war she was place in reserve at Sheerness.

Courtesy visit of a Royal Navy Submarine at Ipswich docks.

Cyril and Frances at a School sports day.

Outside the Town Hall, the procession to St. Mary Le Tower for the Civic service to celebrate the 750th Anniversary of the King John’s Charter. Ipswich Mace bearers, Mayor, town clerk, MP. Honorary Recorder. Descending the steps, Mayor of Colchester, town clerk and mace, followed by the Bury St. Edmund mace bearers and Mayor of B.S.E.

Cyril Planting a tree, to commemorate the 750th Royal Charter year.  25th June 1950.

Cyril and Frances outside Christchurch Mansion.

Cyril reading out a telegram for a 100th birthday.

Entertaining VIP’s (possibly the RBL garden party in Christchurch Park) 12th July 1950.

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