Plane pioneer grave history forgot

HE was buried with full honours but today the last resting place of one of a pioneering military pilot lies untended with wording on his gravestone barely legible.

By Amanda Cresswell

HE was buried with full honours, but today the last resting place of a pioneering military pilot lies untended, with wording on his gravestone barely legible.

Today no one can even get near the grave of Captain Eustace Loraine, which lies hidden behind high fencing in the shadow of St Mary's church tower in Bramford.

Sadly it is fenced off for safety reasons as the vicar Canon Roger Dedman and friends of the church struggle to raise the £107,000 needed to repair the buttress, which is in serious risk of collapse.

Signs on the nearby high fencing warn the public

"danger, keep out."

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Canon Dedman said: "People can't get to see his grave at present. Last May a crack was found at the top of the church buttress and the problem was worse than we first thought.

"We had to fence off an area around the tower and call a halt to the bell ringing.

"It is only rubble inside the buttress and if we get the rain in there and it freezes the

buttress is in danger of

collapse. We don't know how long it will last."

Captain Loraine died on July 5, 1912, when his Nieuport aeroplane stalled at 400 feet and crashed as it took off from Larkhill on Salisbury Plain.

Also killed was his

passenger, Staff Sergeant Wilson, who had been only the second non-commissioned officer in the British army to qualify as a pilot.

Captain Loraine's body was taken by train to Bramford, where he was given a military funeral attended by more than 200 members of his regiment, the Grenadier Guards.

"With no family around to tend to the grave it has just been forgotten, as happens in passing," said Canon Dedman.

"The stone is across the ground, which means that it is prone to dampness. It is one of those things. Time does move on and we are now going back nearly 100 years."

The Loraine family died out after the last surviving

member, Percy Loraine, passed away in 1950.

A memorial stone inside the church pays tribute to Captain Loraine together with other family members.

There are lasting reminders of the Loraines in Bramford and the village hall takes its name from the family who lived in Bramford Hall.

Extracts and pictures of Captain Loraine's funeral have been taken from the book, Ipswich at War, by Robert Malster and David Kindred.

n If you would like to make a donation to help save the

buttress, please send a cheque made payable to Bramford Parochial Church Council to Colin Elsdon, church treasurer, 64 Cedarcroft Road, Ipswich.

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