1st July 1900 – 31st March 1931


Town Sergeant/Sergeant at Mace is one of the oldest job titles of the Town of Ipswich. Dating back to the time of Town Bailiffs, following the first Royal Charter of 1200. The Sergeant was employed to carry out the duties and enforcement of the laws and wishes of the governance of the Town. As Sergeant they were to carry the insignia of the town and to carry the royal mace (1665). Held ahead of the first citizen in parades and precessions. The sergeant at mace is responsible for civic and ceremonial role of the first citizen. Over the past 800 years the Sergeant would be responsible for the smooth running of the halls and the running of meetings of the Town, acting as toastmaster and attendant of the court. (Session Court and Council). Carrying the Sword of Justice for the Session Court and Royal Mace for Council meetings, calling order for the start and finish of the meetings.

Since 1836 Mayors had replaced Bailiffs in the town, with the Sergeants duties being transferred to serve the Mayors, acting as mayor’s attendants. For Civic parades Two Town Sergeants carrying maces (the Borough/Town have two Royal Maces) The sword of Justice carried by the Town Crier who would lead the procession with Mayor and civic party behind. The Sergeants were present at every significant event of the town, from Royal visits, Proclamations, unveilings, openings, Council meetings in the Borough and escort for the Mayor for Town and County events.


Born: 15th May 1853, Warrington, Lancashire.

Baptised 10th July 1853, at Warrington, Lancashire. Witter family residing at Stanley Street, Warrington.


Father: James Witter, born 22nd January 1807, Hindsford, Cheshire, baptised 22nd February 1807, at St. John the Baptist Church, Knutsford, Cheshire. James Witter died 24th May 1870, at Lower Broughton, Lancashire.


Mother: Ann Witter (nee Tasker), born 25th May 1811, Tabley, Cheshire, baptised 16th June 1811, at St. John the Baptist Church, Knutsford, Cheshire. Ann Witter died 1880, Broughton, Lancashire.




Ellen Witter, born 1839, Knutsford, Cheshire.


Sarah Witter, born 1841, Tabley, Cheshire.


Mary Witter, born 1843, Wilderspool, Cheshire.


Elizabeth Witter, born 1845, Wilderspool, Cheshire.


George Goodwin Witter, born 1847, Wilderspool, Cheshire, baptised 1847, at St. Thomas’s Church, Stockton-Heath, Cheshire. George Witter died 1851, Warrington.


Ann Jane Witter, born 1850, Warrington. Ann Jane Witter died 1851, Warrington.




1861   Marsh Lane, Litherland, Lancashire.

James was 7 years old and living with his parents and sister.

James, 54, a Gardener.

Ann, 49.

Mary, 18.


1871   109, Sussex Street, Broughton, Lancashire.

James was 17 years old, a Clerk – at a Glass Bottle Company. He was living with his widowed mother.

Ann, 59.

1 lodger.


1891   69, Tower Ramparts, Ipswich.

James was 37 years old, a Corset Cutter. He was married and head of the household.

Mary, 38.

Stepson – Hubert Salmon, 16, a Tailor’s Apprentice.

Stepdaughter – Harriet Salmon – 11.


1911   19, Alpe Street, Ipswich.

James was 57 years old, a Sergeant-at-Mace – Town Hall Keeper etc. – Borough Council. He was married and head of the household.

Mary, 58.

Daughter-in-law – Emma Salmon (nee Parker), 36.

Herbert Samuel Salmon, 7, born Lincoln, Lincolnshire.

Norah Catherine Salmon, 3, born Kampli, India.

Ethel Mary Salmon, 1, born Poona, Imdia.

Ellen Maud Salmon, 3 months, born Poona.

In 1911, Mary’s son Herbert Praed Salmon was serving with the Lincolnshire Regiment in Aden, Yemen. His wife Emma Salmon had travelled back to England with the children and resided with her in-laws James and Mary. Photograph courtesy of Gabby.



On the 14th September 1871, 18 year old, James joined the crew of the S.S. ‘City of Brooklyn,’ a passenger-cargo vessel, of the Inman Line. James was one of eight Stewards employed on the eve of sailing for the crossing from the Port of Liverpool to New York, via Queenstown, Ireland – Master Samuel Brooks. James was to be paid £3 for the journey, to appear in the company’s uniform at all times, and shall when required work coals and cargo…..and No Grog allowed!

On the return of the S.S. ‘City of Brooklyn’ to the Port of Liverpool on the 15th November 1871, James was paid a balance of wages of £2 3s.


On Thursday, 26th July 1877 James, a Steward, aged 24 years and 7 months, enlisted into the 7th Dragoon Guards, regimental number 1863. James was 5ft 7 5/8ins in height, fresh complexion, gray/blue eyes and brown hair.  regimental number 1863.

On Monday, 2nd January 1883, James, a Corporal of the 7th Dragoon Guards was discharged due to vascular disease of the heart.


On the 8th January 1883, at St. James’s Church, Colchester, Essex, James married Mary Ann Salmon (nee Howard), born 1854, Bures Hamlet, Essex – daughter of Charles and Sarah Howard, of Mount Bures, Essex.


Father: Charles Howard, born 1826, Mount Bures, Essex. A farm labourer. Charles Howard died August 1886, Mount Bures. Laid to rest 27th August 1886, St. John’s Churchyard, Mount Bures.


Mother: Sarah Howard (nee Warren), born 1828, Bures Hamlet, Essex, baptised 29th March 1828, at St. John’s Church, Mount Bures. Sarah Howard died January 1876, Mount Bures. Laid to rest 27th January 1876, at St. John’s Churchyard, Mount Bures.


In 1872, Colchester, Essex, Mary Ann Howard married Samuel Salmon, born 1844, Lexden, Essex. Samuel was a boot finisher and also a Bugler – Militia Staff. Samuel died as a result of an accident on Tuesday, 2nd November 1880.



Mr. Samuel Salmon, a boot finisher, of Brook Street, Colchester, who was also a member of the Staff of the Essex Rifles’ Militia Band, was at the Depot, Ipswich Road, assisting to pack some stores away, when he accidentally fell down a grating, and his head coming into contact with an iron chest, he sustained serious injuries. Samuel was at once removed to the Essex and Colchester Hospital, where he received every attention, but the injuries were such that he never rallied, and died about half-past five o’clock in the evening. Colchester Gazette – Wednesday, 3rd November 1880


Mary Ann and Samuel Salmon had three children. The children later became the stepchildren of James Witter.

Herbert Praed Salmon and Ethel Salmon.
Tower Ramparts, Ipswich.


Herbert Praed Salmon, born 9th December 1872, Colchester, baptised 27th January 1873, at St. James’s Church, Colchester. Herbert served in the Army as a Private, service number 2765 for the Lincolnshire Regiment, 1st Battalion. From 1903 to 1911, Herbert served in India with the Lincolnshire Regiment. He was awarded the Delhi Durbar 1911 medal. Herbert retired to an Army pension in 1912. At the beginning of the First World War, 41 year old Herbert, on the 31st August 1914, rejoined the Lincolnshire Regiment once again. He was ranked a Sergeant, service number 2471 – next of kin: Emma Salmon. Herbert transferred to the R.F.C. (and from April 1918 the R.A.F.), he served in France from the 1st March 1915, and was awarded the Victory, British War and 1915 Star. He was transferred to the Reserves 18th March 1920.

On the 25th March 1903, Ipswich, Herbert married Emma Parker, born 3rd June 1874, Bramford, Suffolk, baptised 28th June 1874, at St. Mary the Virgin Church, Bramford – daughter of William Parker, a farm labourer and Ann Parker (nee Payne), of the Round House, Bramford. Emma and Herbert had eight children. On the 1939 register, the Salmon family were residing at their home – 11, Jubilee Crescent, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire. Herbert Salmon died 19th October 1940, Gainsborough. Lincolnshire. Laid to rest 19th October 1940, Lincolnshire. Emma Salmon died 1st August 1958, Gainsborough, Laid to rest 5th August 1958, Lincolnshire.

From Jim & Polly’s letter to Alice Vince Pinborough, U.S.A., dated 30th May 1923 – 14, Chenery Street, Ipswich www.sharingthepast.com/blog/2016/7/7/1927-ipswich-jim-polly-witter-part-2-of-10:

“we had one of Herbert’s girls since she was three until last January she is thirteen now well she got too much for her grandma so her dad had to come and take her home. She did not like the idea of going but the Doctor said the wife was to do less work & have no worry or she would have a breakdown so Ethel went home and my wife had a couple of weeks comfortable rest with her sister & brother in law at Leytonstone and came back much better. The girl won a scholarship and got into the Central School but she would not help in the house at any price and was like the general run of girls have wanted her own way, which don’t go down with really old people. I felt sorry to see her go as her life is far different from being here, but I am pleased to say she has quite settled down with her sisters and already been put up a standout at school.

They live at Gainsborough near Lincolnshire. Herbert still lives in at Balham London and they both have had a rough time since the war. Hebert had got his pension and six medals then joined up again in the war. Had three more medals but am sorry to say has not had a regular job since he was demoted.”

Hubert Charles Salmon, born 18th December 1874, Colchester, baptised 4th April 1875, at St. James’s Church, Colchester. Hubert was a tailor. On the 23rd December 1903, at Christ Church, Eastbourne, East Sussex, 29 year old Hubert, a tailor of 1, Albion Road married 25 year old Florence Grace Hargraves, of 20, New Road, Eastbourne, born 13th August 1878, Eastbourne, baptised 26th January 1879, at Christ Church, Eastbourne – daughter of James Hargraves, a soldier and Margaret Elizabeth Hargraves (nee Lane), of Eastbourne. Florence and Hubert had five children. On the 1939 register, the Salmon family were residing at their home – 26, Lynwood Road,Tooting. Hubert Salmon died 8th May 1950, of 26, Lynwood Road, Tooting, London.


Harriet Sarah Spurgeon Salmon, born 15th April 1879, baptised 27th July 1879, at St. James’s Church, Colchester. In 1899, Lambeth, London, Harriet married George Stratton Walker, a commercial traveller. Harriet and George had one son – Leslie James Walker, born 1900, Ipswich – died May 1901, Woodford Bridge, Essex. Laid to rest 31st May 1901 at St. Paul’s Churchyard, Woodford Bridge. Harriet and George separated. Harriet resided at Flat 134, Albert Palace Mansions, Lurline Gardens, Battersea Park. In 1921, Wandsworth, Harriet married Arthur Edgar Felix Court, an accountant, born 1875, Putney, Surrey, baptised 27th May 1877, with his sister Emily Mary Court, at St. Paul’s Church, Onslow Square, Kensington, Middlesex. – the Court family residing at 11, South Parade. Arthur had previously married in 1902, Wandsworth, to Sarah Chasemore, born October 1880, Battersea, Surrey. On the 29th July 1921, 41 year old Harriet and 46 year old Arthur Court, of Flat 134, Albert Palace Mansions, Lurline Gardens, departed from the Port of Southampton for a 56 day journey aboard the Royal Mail Ship ‘Ruapehu,’ of the New Zealand Shipping Company, Limited – Master A.W. McKellar. They sailed Second Class and were contracted to land in Auckland where they intended to make New Zealand their permanent residence.

From Jim & Polly’s letter to Alice Vince Pinborough, U.S.A., dated 30th May 1923 – 14, Chenery Street, Ipswich www.sharingthepast.com/blog/2016/7/7/1927-ipswich-jim-polly-witter-part-2-of-10:

Hettie and her husband are doing nicely in New Zealand. We hear regularly from them they want Mother & I to go and end our days there. But mother would not do the journey out there for all the country and the gold that is in it. They say it is a lovely place and they want in time to come home for a holiday but say they would not come back to settle in England at any price. They have a nice place of their own and the pictures and photos they send show it must be a lovely place.”

From Jim & Polly’s letter to Alice Vince Pinborough, U.S.A., dated 1st March 1931 – “April we expect Hettie home for a holiday from New Zealand.

After Harriet and Arthur’s visit, James wrote on the 13th December 1931 – “Our dear Hettie & her husband have gone back. We had a letter saying they arrived in New Zealand on 1st Nov. & they had a splendid voyage not one rough day & only one wet day.”

Harriet Court died 25th October 1933, of 6, Rautangi Road, Mt. Eden, Auckland, cremated 27th October and scattered 30th October 1933. Arthur remarried in 1941, to Marion Grace Wells, born March 1897, Wellington. Arthur Court died 21st October 1954, was cremated 23rd October and scattered at Waikumete Cemetery, 25th October.



Mary Witter was a member of the Ipswich Primrose League. On Thursday, 8th October 1891, the Ipswich Dames “Mary” Habitation, No. 475 met for their annual gathering at the Public Hall. Before the entertainment and addresses about 1,400 enjoyed a tea laid out on tables in the crowded hall Mary Witter was a principal worker of the Primrose League and had helped to prepare and serve the excellent tea. The introductory speech was made by the Ruling Councillor, Miss Patteson who first welcomed the 178 new members. She spoke of the result of the labours of the organisation and pointed to the beautiful new banner of the Habitation, which adorned the platform, awarded by the Grand Council to Ipswich, as one of four Habitations who, during the year, had, out of 2,000, accomplished the best work. Miss Patteson touched upon the question of woman’s suffrage, acknowledging that the single and widowed ratepayers might feel that they had a claim to vote. Miss Patteson was against this and drew the picture of a man who, working hard in a political cause, afterwards found his vote stultified by that of his wife. Miss Patteson looked to a woman’s position as that of the man engaged in dropping oil into huge machinery to make its movement run smoothly. Women only wanted to help. Let the men have the burden of the work, and let the women drop oil and make it go smoothly.

After addresses by Captain Trevor and Edward Packard, jun., the music programme followed before the meeting concluded. E.A.D.T. Friday, 9th October 1891



On Thursday, 9th November 1893, the Ipswich Dames “Mary” Habitation, No. 475 met for their annual gathering at the Public Hall, Ipswich. Mary Witter helped to prepare and serve the tea to the several hundred present. After the shared tea a musical programme followed. During the interval, Miss Patteson, the Ruling Councillor of the Ipswich Primrose League, observed that it had been eight years since the Habitation was formed in Ipswich, with members now numbered over 2,000. Miss Patteson continued by announcing to the meeting the names of those ladies who had been awarded special orders of merit, including Mary Witter who was awarded a Primrose League Bar. E.A.D.T. – Friday, 10th November 1893

James was employed by the Ipswich Corporation as an attendant at the Corn Exchange and Provision Market.


On Wednesday, 25th January 1899, the Ipswich Provision Market held their first Dinner, at the Old Museum Rooms, arranged by the Ipswich Provision Market’s newly formed Committee, with Chairman – Mr. Samuel Colson Clover (a florist and fruiter, of 39, Westgate Street) and James Witter as Secretary.

Dinner was served in excellent style by Mr. Thomas Edwin James, of 25, Queen Street, the desserts being supplied by the stall-holders themselves. A toast to the Queen was duly honoured, followed by a toast to the Provision Market and Stall-holders, and the Town and Trade of Ipswich. The evening was a great success and was generally hoped that the gathering would become an annual one. Evening Star – Thursday, 26th January 1899



On Wednesday, 20th June 1900, a special meeting of the Ipswich Town Council was held at the Town Hall, with the Mayor of Ipswich, William Alfred Churchman and the Deputy Mayor, Mr. Edwin Perkins Ridley present. The Estate Committee reported to the meeting that Mr. Charles Hicks, one of the Town Sergeants was 67 years of age, and now felt unable, from infirmity, to carry out efficiently all the duties of the office.

The Estates Committee recommended that Mr. James George Witter, who had for some years past been attendant at the Corn Exchange and Provision Market, should be appointed as one of the Town Sergeants for the town of Ipswich, with the wages of 30s. a week with livery, but without the quarterly allowance in lieu of fees for preparing for and attending meetings which were not connected with the Corporation. Mr. William Grayston thought it was unfair to take James Witter’s quarterly allowance away, which would mean something like £10 a year, but Mr. Henry William Raffe pointed out that James Witter was not obliged to leave his present lucrative post, and from remarks of the Mayor, William Churchman, and Mr. Robert Stocker Paul, it appeared that James Witter was anxious to have the new appointment. The Ipswich Journal – Saturday, 23rd June 1900

James is on the right.


The East Suffolk Boer War Memorial unveiling at Ipswich Cornhill.
Extracts from the E.A.D.T. – 1st October 1906 

Preceded by the Town Sergeants in livery, bearing the maces,

the Mayor of Ipswich, in official robes and chain, led the way to the centre of the enclosure, accompanied by the Bishop of Ipswich (the Right Rev. H.L. Paget), in his canonicals, and followed by the Lord-Lieutenant of the County (the Marquis of Bristol), in uniform, while there were also of the party General Sir John French and his Aides-de-Camp, the Earl of Stradbroke, as Colonel of the 1st Norfolk R.G.A. (Volunteers); Lord Rendlesham, chairman of the County Council and Quarter Sessions, as Honorary Colonel of the Suffolk Artillery; Sir Cuthbert Quilter, in the uniform of a Deputy-Lieutenant; General C.R. Townley, commanding Harwich Infantry Volunteer Brigade; Lieut. Eley Quilter, Suffolk Imperial Yeomanry; Colonel Sir Howard Whitbread, C.B., who was associated with General French in this district in the early years of his military career; Col. R.J. Carthew, Suffolk R.G.A. Militia; Col. Barnardiston; Col. F.W. Scudamore, 3rd Battalion Suffolk Regiment; Capt. E.G. Pretyman, in the uniform of a Cavalry officer; Capt. Mayne, hon. sec; Mr. Albert Toft, the sculptor; and others. Amongst the ladies who made their appearance about this time were the Marchioness of Bristol, wearing a black gown, black bonnet, and black feather boa; Lady Beatrice Pretyman, who was also in black but wore a white toque, bespangled with sequins and trimmed with black and white, and a white boa; Lady Evelyn Cobbold, who was entirely in black, with a black picture hat, draped with a long black veil, and wearing a mauve scarf; Mrs. Paget, who wore a black silk gown, a large white mushroom hat, with a black ruche and pale pink roses under the brim, over it being a large black lace veil, which fell down in folds behind; the Hon. Misses Thellusson, who came with Lord Rendlesham; Lady Florence Barnardiston, Mrs. Scudamore, Mrs. Townley, Mrs. Toft, and others. The Mayoress was unable to be present, being aboard.

Soon after his arrival, General French, accompanied by Col. Townley, inspected the 1st Suffolks, and subsequently inspected some of the other units present.


The memorial stands about 13ft 6in. high, the statue itself, of which a sketch appears, being about 6ft 3in., whilst the pedestal is a little over 9ft. The pedestal is made of stone, and has panels in bronze on each of its sides. Those at the back and sides bear the names of those who fell in the war.


James Witter was a Brother of the Ancient Order of Foresters’ Friendly Society “Royal Albert” Court 2332, who hosted most of their meetings at the King’s Arms Hotel, Cornhill, Ipswich. Foresters were originally founded for the purpose of assisting each other at all times in woe and sorrow and acting towards each other in a friendly and Christian-like spirit, in alleviating the sickness or adversity which comes on unexpectedly on the poor and rich. James rose to become in 1907, a District Sub Chief Ranger Brother and in 1908 and 1909 was a District Chief Ranger Brother, helping and attending Court 2332’s social events, the running of the Court, benevolence and parades.







During WW1 James having past military service joined the Volunteer Training Corps. The VTC were the forerunner to the Home Guard. The white lanyard and bandolier show that he was in the Transport Section of his particular unit. The thicker armband is the red armband of the V.T.C.









Evening Star – Tuesday, 8th June 1915

The funeral took place at Ipswich Cemetery in the afternoon of Monday, 7th June 1915 of Lance Corporal Albert Edward Dunnett, of the R.A.M.C., who had been stationed at Saxmundham. The deceased, who underwent an operation at Cambridge for an internal complaint, did not survive, death taking place on Friday, 2nd June. The body was removed to his residence in Wellesley Road, St. John’s, Ipswich, from whence the funeral procession started by way of Grove Lane and St. Helen’s Street to the Cemetery, with full military honours. The gun carriage which bore the coffin was covered with the Union Jack, on which the deceased’s cap rested. The firing party headed the procession, and following came the Ipswich Town Mission Band, a large body of soldiers of the R.F.A. and members of the St. Ambulance Corps making up the remainder of the procession. Albert Dunnett was an active member of the St. John Ambulance, and also of the Ipswich Town Mission, of which he was a past officer of the Ancient Order of Foresters, Court “Royal Albert,” which was represented at the funeral by the present Chief Ranger, Brother Harry Arthur Youngs, and the P.D.C.R., Brother James George Witter. Two Red Cross nurses were present.

The deceased leaves a widow and two daughters. Many beautiful wreaths were sent from relatives, friends, and associates. The coffin was of elm, with brass fittings.

The service at the Cemetery was conducted by the two leaders of the Town Mission. The hymn “Brief life is here our portion” and Albert’s favorite hymn, “Precious Promise God has given,” were sung at the graveside, being led by the band. After the committal a portion of Scripture was read. At the conclusion three volleys were fired and the “Last Post” was sounded by the buglers. The funeral arrangements were in the hands of Messrs. Hastings and Son, under the supervision of Mr. P. Hastings.


SUFFOLK CHRONICLE AND MERCURY, Friday, November 15th, 1918.

The scenes in Ipswich were unprecedented. Shortly after the news was received practically all business ceased and crowds ever increasing, thronged the streets, singing, waving flags, discharging fireworks, and generally letting their long pent-up feelings loose. At noon the Cornhill was packed from end to end when the Mayor (Mr. Edwin Colby Ransome.), in full state, accompanied by members of the Corporation and other public bodies in the town, appeared to officially announce the joyful news. The scene and the magnificent sound of the National Anthem, which followed will be remembered for a long time by those who were present.


Towards dusk, the relaxing of the lighting restrictions was taken advantage of as fully as was possible, and the street scenes became even more boisterous. But whilst these scenes were being enacted in the streets, in many of the churches and chapels large congregations assembled to return their thanks for the many blessings which had been vouchsafed during the terrible time now happily past. At Mary-le-Tower Church the Mayor attended with members of the Corporation, and the Bishop of the Diocese delivered an earnest and appropriate address. Arrangements had been made for a joint parade of the Volunteer units in the town, but at the last minute this was vetoed, and the crowd had to be content with listening to the strains of the Volunteer Band, bravely trying to make itself heard above the continuous cheering and discharge of fireworks. On a minor scale, the rejoicings were continued on Tuesday, but the crowds were by no means so large.

An artist’s impression of the Town Hall steps with the Mayor and council members. James is seen with his mace (left-hand side).


In May 1923, from his home of 14, Chenery Street, Ipswich, James wrote in his letter to Alice Vince Pinborough – “Time flies quickly 23 years 1st July since I started at town hall. I have seen some different functions there & many changes.”

In December 1929, from his home of 14, Chenery Street, Ipswich, James wrote in his letter to Alice Vince Pinborough – “If I live I shall be 77 in May, but we often say we cannot believe we are so old. I still keep at my job, but must confess I feel tired some nights. Two nights out with the mayor this last week 10:30 & 11pm when I got home and running about the town all day, but we keep smiling or trying.” Later in the letter, James refers to the Town Hall “There is talk of a new police station being built, there is not room at Town Hall & we have mounted police as well.”

In September 1930, from his home of 14, Chenery Street, Ipswich, James wrote in his letter to Alice Vince Pinborough – “in November I if I live 78 in May next but thank god we still keep dodging about. In a short time I shall have to retire from my work on account of my age they are cutting most of them off at 65.”

On the 1st March 1931, from his home of 14, Chenery Street, Ipswich, James wrote in his letter to Alice Vince Pinborough – “I have had a touch of rheumatic or a strain in left knee but would not lay up as I have to retire from my job on the 31st this month. There is a superannuation scheme now so no Corporation employee can be kept on after age 65. There are a lot put off. I shall have put in just about 34 years under the Corporation some of them say I am fit for another ten years.”

Mary Ann Witter died 29th December 1936, at her residence 14, Chenery Street, Ipswich – of cholecystitis, gall stones and myocardial degeneration. Mary Ann’s son Hubert Charles Salmon, of 26, Lynwood Road, Tooting, S.W. 17 was present at death.


Probate to James George Witter – widower, a retired Town Sergeant.


On the 14th April 1937, from his home of 14, Chenery Street, Ipswich, James wrote in his last letter filled with heartbreak and sorrow to Alice Vince Pinborough – “My poor dear Polly past away on 29th. At last she was 84 in Nov. For seven weeks she sat in a chair night and day & I laid on the couch. She could not lay down. Then on a Tuesday evening she said Jim could you get me up stairs I think I could lay down in bed now. I got her up & put her in bed. The following Tuesday at 5am she said, Jim I want to see the boys. I wired for them & they both came. The nurses came in the evening & made her comfortable about 5pm directly they left she became unconscious & knew no one. She lasted until 11:30pm. She died with a lovely smile. We buried her on the Saturday. Many wreaths & letters came.”

The letter continued:

“On the following Saturday morning I had to get my neighbours to fetch the doctor. I could not pass my water. He came & took me at once in his car to hospital. I was there a fortnight, and I have a tube in my body and it will always be there while I last. A nurse comes in to clear the tubes every 3 days. I thank God this happened after my dear old girl was laid to rest. What should I have done had I been in hospital & her in bed. Her last five days she had nothing but water. She could not swallow anything else. I have such good kind neighbours they look after me and do everything I want. The boys come & see me and friends call on me. I cannot get out for more than quarter of an hour on account of the water. I shall be 84 if I last till May 15th. Well dear friends I cannot write more. Every place is altering here. Millers Arms & Cottages down & Crown St widened you would not know Ipswich now. I hope you and your dear ones are well & happy. God bless you all.”

James Witter died 21st November 1937, at his residence 14, Chenery Street, Ipswich – of chronic cystitis and nephritis and enlarged prostate. James’s stepson Herbert Praed Salmon, of 11, Jubilee Crescent, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire was present at death.


Probate to Hubert Charles Salmon – stepson, a tailor.



Images of James Witter and family courtesy of Sharing the Past – Laurie www.sharingthepast.com

Snippets from the letters of Jim and Polly Witter courtesy of Sharing the Past – Laurie – www.sharingthepast.com

Images of the Mayor of Ipswich courtesy of Mr. A. Gilbert – Ipswich Borough Council.

www.ancestry.co.uk  for census returns, births, marriages, deaths, probates, military records and other historical online records.


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