Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 2°C

Search

Woodbridge: Uniform tells of family history on frontline

09:45 25 July 2014

The First World War uniform of Leslie Hepworth goes on display at Woodbridge Museum. L-R: Max, Peter and Ron Hepworth.

The First World War uniform of Leslie Hepworth goes on display at Woodbridge Museum. L-R: Max, Peter and Ron Hepworth.

Archant

Three generations of the same family saw a piece of ancestral wartime heritage go on display at a museum.

shares

Ron Hepworth was joined by his son, Peter, and grandson Max at Woodbridge Museum for the unveiling of his father’s First World War uniform.

The 88-year-old, who was awarded an MBE in 2011 for his dedication to Woodbridge and is an honorary freeman of the town, lent Leslie Hepworth’s Seaforth Highlanders uniform to the museum as part of the centenary commemorations.

“I inherited the uniform and always kept it in a tin truck to keep it moth-free,” said Ron, who was awarded the defence medal and war service medal for his time in the Royal Air Force, which he joined on D-Day during the Second World War.

“I’ve worn the kilt as fancy dress but offered the full uniform to the museum to display.”

Ron’s father wanted to join the Manchester regiment of the Highlanders but was told it was fully subscribed and to report to Cromarty, where he signed up for the Seaforths.

In a letter sent from Roeux in 1918 - and still kept by Ron - the soldier describes to his parents returning to the billet for a rest after being in the trenches until 3am, only to be told to report for parade at lunchtime that day. There the 51st division stood waiting for inspection for almost four hours, before a car whizzed past carrying King George V. “The loudest cheer came from the commanding officer,” said Ron. “But the rest were quite cheesed off by then.”

At the Battle of Arras a year earlier, Leslie was knocked out by a falling tree and came round to find that all but a dozen men from the company had been killed or injured.

Leslie, who lost the sight in one eye during battle, was the youngest of three brothers to fight in the war. One of his brothers was also wounded, while the other was made officer - a role Leslie turned down when offered, because he wanted to “remain with the rest of the chaps”, according to Ron.

“He always had a scar on the back of his neck from a machine gun bullet,” he said.

Ron ended his own military career in Iceland as a non-commissioned officer in pay accounts, before working as a taxation manager for Fisons, in Ipswich. His other son, Timothy, is in the Coldstream Guards, while Peter, 50, is an accountant and lives in Surrey, with 13-year-old Max.

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Halifax Town v Braintree Town - Kenny Davis

Braintree Town take on Altrincham, needing just a point to secure a place in the National League play-offs.

The A11 at Elveden.

An air ambulance has landed on the A11 at Elveden to help a woman who was involved in a car crash.

Waterloo Road in Ipswich.

Police helped control traffic as firefighters extinguished a car blaze.

Ralph Crich suffered a cardiac arrest at Ipwich Town's home game against Fulham on April 19. He has since made a speedy recovery and will be going to watch ITFC against MK Dons tomorrow.

When Ipswich Town fan Ralph Crich left Portman Road 11 days ago, he was, in his own words, nearly dead.

Malcolm Metcalf at the Old Cattle Market bus station in Ipswich.

An 82-year-old man who set himself the challenge of travelling around England on his bus pass has made his stop in Ipswich.

Match Centre

Live match updates from Ipswich Town’s final home game of the season, against Milton Keynes Dons.

Neighbours objecting to the original proposed demolition of Woodbridge police station for housing

Plans to turn an empty police station into housing have been knocked back at the second time of asking.

EADT food review, Berridges restaurant, Ipswich. French-style chicken.

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis uncovers ‘hidden’ eatery Berridges restaurant in the centre of Ipswich

Stock picture of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service fire engines.

Firefighters helped free a man who was trapped in his car after it collided with a tree.

Trains between the region and Liverpool Street were delayed.

Rail passengers in the region suffered delays on Saturday morning after a freight train broke down on the main line between Needham Market and Stowmarket.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24