Tributes to war hero and teacher

TRIBUTES have been paid to former Copleston teacher and Ipswich Town fan Tom Keeble who died at the weekend aged 82.Friends said the Raydon-born man, who was a keen horticulturist, didn't miss an Ipswich home game for over half a century until last year.

TRIBUTES have been paid to former Copleston teacher and Ipswich Town fan Tom Keeble who died at the weekend aged 82.

Friends said the Raydon-born man, who was a keen horticulturist, didn't miss an Ipswich home game for over half a century until last year.

He was a season ticket holder who started watching Town in action during their Southern League days and witnessed hundreds of players in the blue and white shirt.

Earlier in his life, Mr Keeble was a genuine war-hero who survived a gruelling three months on the run in allied France after his plane was shot down during the Second World War.


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As if that was bad enough, friend and colleague Roy Tricker explained he also had to endure most of that time without any boots.

"He was a member of bomber command and at some point during the war he was shot down over occupied France.

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"When you jump out of an aeroplane, your boots drop at the same rate as the rest of your body. When the parachute opens, the boots still continue at the same rate so in Tom's case, they fell off. He spent most of the time in France barefoot!"

By surviving in France, Mr Keeble became a member of the exclusive Caterpillar Club – an honour bestowed from 1919 on any person who jumped from a disabled aircraft with a parachute.

Mr Tricker explained that Mr Keeble, a widower, who had been a maths teacher and careers master at Copleston High, was given a special pin badge for his courageous wartime survival.

"He lost the badge on the school playing field, but when he went on a school trip to Wattisham Air Base, he was presented with a replacement."

Mr Tricker, said his friend and former colleague, will be remembered as a great man: "He was an old-fashioned man who had a wicked twinkle in his eye and lots of great stories to tell."

n Mr Keeble's funeral will take place on Tuesday July 30 at St Martin's Church, Nacton.

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