Tributes paid to Ipswich war hero

The proud son of an Ipswich war hero and former British Legion chairman today paid a glowing tribute to his father.

IPSWICH: The proud son of an Ipswich war hero and former British Legion chairman today paid a glowing tribute to his father.

Dad-of-six Bill Matthews, of Vinnecombe Court, died in Ipswich Hospital on January 30 at the age of 93.

Today, his son, Rob Matthews told The Evening Star his father would always be missed - but said his memory would live on thanks to his event-filled life.

Rob said: “He was a very brave, marvelous man. He had lots of patience and a great sense of humour - he was a great dad and a great grandfather.

“Everybody loved him and everybody knew him. We're really proud that he'd been able to live such a useful and full life after what he had gone through during the war.”

Mr Matthews, who spent much of his life living in Bramford and Ipswich, was chairman of the Ipswich Royal British Legion for many years.

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During the Second World War, Mr Matthews was captured by the Japanese at Sittang Bridge - one of three survivors from his decimated unit.

But even though he was wounded, he managed to escape their clutches and later fought with Chinese troops under General Chi against the common enemy in the jungle.

He was taken prisoner for a second time and endured the horrors of captivity under the Japanese in Rangoon for a large part of the war.

As he was Red Cross trained, he helped look after the hundreds of PoWs who fell ill though malnutrition and disease.

Rob, 52, of Kelvin Road, said: “He was a very well known character, I'm sure many will remember him as the last standard bearer for the Burma Star Association. Now the standard is laid up in St Matthews Church because there is no one left to do it.

“Life will seem very different without having him around.”

Mr Matthew's funeral is to be held at Bramford St Mary's Church on February 17.

What are you memories of Bill Matthews? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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