Canadian relatives unravel mystery of heroic Ipswich soldier Robert Charles Gladwell

Private Charles Gladwell

Private Charles Gladwell - Credit: Archant

The discovery of a long-lost picture of a First World War soldier who died on The Somme has sparked a family mystery after his niece read a report in the Ipswich Star.

We reported how a family in Canada related to Robert Charles Gladwell, of Ipswich, had received a picture of him for the first time after it turned up in the belongings of a former comrade in arms who survived the war and returned to the town.

However now Mr Gladwell’s niece, Judith Clark, who lives near Holywells Park contacted us to say she had pictures of her uncle, and her family were all aware of what had happened to him, but she knew nothing of any family members in Canada.

She said: “My uncle was ten years older than my father – who was only a boy during the war. He was Robert Charles, but was always known as Charlie. We have more than one picture of him.

“Ironically I lived in Canada for 12 years, I have dual Canadian and British citizenship, but I don’t know of any relations in Canada.”

Mrs Clark has a sister and knows a second cousin in Bristol – but is not aware of any other relations. She said: “I can only think they are related back to my grandparents’ brothers or sisters.”

She is now hoping to use a website for family historians to try to track down her family’s relationships with the Canadians.

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The story emerged when Ipswich Borough Council’s Town Sergeant Andrew Beal was researching the names of those on the First World War memorial at the town’s Cenotaph in Christchurch Park.

Mr Beal is trying to add more stories of those whose names are included to the Facebook page Ipswich War Memorial & Cenotaph.

Any other information about families can be sent to him at andrew.beal@ipswich.gov.ukThere is an exhibition about some of those on the war memorial at the Town Hall until Remembrance Sunday, and on that day – November 8 – folders of family information will be available at Christchurch Mansion after the Remembrance Parade.