War-time memories and real horse-power

USUALLY a picture published in Kindred Spirits brings amazing detail from Star readers, often from over half a century or more ago. I once published a charming Edwardian group of women and children standing in Cemetery Road, Ipswich.

USUALLY a picture published in Kindred Spirits brings amazing detail from Star readers, often from over half a century or more ago.

I once published a charming Edwardian group of women and children standing in Cemetery Road, Ipswich. To my surprise a lady in her nineties, who was a three-year-old in the group, named most of the people featured!

The picture used recently of a group of people in the Bramford Road area of Ipswich in the 1940's though, has opened much speculation.

Dennis Abbott of Oldfield Road, Ipswich, sent the photograph believing it was taken at a Victory in Europe party in 1945 for residents of Windsor Road, Ipswich. John Collison was sure it was taken in 1944, as residents gathered after a bombing raid on the area. Reader's information now has two dates and two locations!

Mike Farthing of Medway Road, Ipswich, said “I think I can throw some more light on the photograph of the gathering of the people of Windsor Road. I am the fair-haired lad clinging to my sister Kit in the centre row, one third of the way from the left of the photograph. My mother is to our left and my father is extreme left on the back row”.

“The event was to celebrate VE Day and was held at Bramford Road Methodist Church. Many family names spring to mind looking at the photograph including Mulley, Barker, Gladwell, Deeks, Butcher, Pask, Gaskin, Steed, Ling and Deveraux.

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“To the right of my sister is a lady by the name of Mayes. She lived to the ripe of age of 103, and I can recall, at the age of 17, going into her house still lit by gas and candles, when she received a telegram from the Queen on her 101st birthday. She was uncertain of her date of birth and so missed her 100th.

“She was a lovely lady but caused problems with the Co-op milkman as she always gave his horse an apple at her front door. Knowing this, the horse used to go up the short path to the door causing the cart to mount the kerb. Horses delivering goods were a familiar sight with not only milk, but bread and coal. “My job, when coal was delivered, was to count the empty sacks to check how many had been tipped into our coal shed. All our other groceries came from the local corner shops and at the top of Windsor Road was a shop and bakery where I used to work on Saturdays. Their cakes must have been good because they supplied Woolworth's tea bar in town”.

“Today I wonder what hygiene standards must have been broken, as when making jam doughnuts the baker took a lump of dough, then picked up a large nail from the window sill and proceeded to push the head into the dough and then put in jam from a piping bag made from greaseproof paper. However, I thought they were delicious and I was always pleased to take home a bag of 'stales'”.

John Beckett of Cedarcroft Road, Ipswich, has memories of the raid referred to by Mr Collison. John said “I do not remember the photograph being taken, but I think it was outside Turners Tannery on Bramford Road. My father worked their before the Second World War. They had a sports and social club. Behind the people in the photograph on the right is possibly the tennis court. You can see the poles tall nets built to stop the tennis balls going into the gardens of the houses in Bramford Road.

In 1944 I was living in Hampton Road, which is parallel with Windsor Road and I remember clearly the air raid on that part of town.

It was a Sunday evening. One bomb hit the house at the Bramford Lane end of All Saints Road (number 64). It knocked the bays off the front of the house. Another fell in the drift off Bramford Lane opposite Windsor Road. The drift is now part of Lambeth Close. A pair of semi-detached houses (including number 132) had their roofs blown off.

The aircraft dropped another bomb in the allotments, causing little damage. The art room roof at Westbourne School was also damaged. We children hoped the school would be closed, no such luck, on Monday morning we were back in class!

J. Farthing of Redwing Close, Ipswich said, “I think John Collison has got it wrong. The picture is the VE Day party in 1945. The air raid was in the dark. I remember one bomb at the corner of Kelvin Road and Norwich Road, one halfway along Kitchener Road. Another fell on Bramford Lane halfway between Hampton Road and Windsor Road. Lots of earth and trees landed in Windsor Road. Another bomb was near All Saints Road. I was in a shelter at the bottom of the garden where I lived in Windsor Road from 1940 until I was called up in the army in 1944.

An e-mail from Ray Pilgrim said “I am in the picture (6th from right back row) of the '40s gathering. Don't get excited, I can't remember when or where it was taken!

“I lived on Bramford Road opposite Windsor Road throughout the war and remember the bomb referred to. It actually fell on the north side of Bramford Lane opposite Windsor Road.

“The large plate glass window at Weston's the bakers on the corner of Windsor Road was blown in, but as far as I can remember the bomb fell between the cottages and the large area on which were built about 500 lock up garages.

“Another bomb of the same attack demolished the first house on the west side of All Saints Road at the Bramford Lane end”.

“I'm pretty sure the photograph had nothing to do with the bomb. I've tried to place the location and all I can think of is that it is on the football pitch which was at the lower half of Beaconsfield Road on the right. The pitch was owned W & A J Turner of The Tannery and access was via Tannery Lane. Some of my friends lived in Beaconsfield Road so that could be the reason for my presence. If so, it was taken looking towards Bramford Road and the flag pole is in the grounds of the Rosary Club.

I've lived in the north since 1957 so my memory of the area is a bit faded. I did return at the end of September to attend the Northgate Reunion and whilst I was in the area had a roam around Bramford Road. Whatever happened to Tower Mill Road and Sallows Lane?”

Lindsey Ward contacted me by e-mail. Lindsey said. “I am writing on behalf of my father Brian Butcher with some information about the photograph of the Windsor Road group. My father is in the photograph at the ripe old age of five! He can name several people on the picture including his brother Ron Butcher (aged about 12/13) and his mother, Dorothy (Doll) Butcher. His father, Jack, was based in Egypt at the time.

Other people he can pick out are; John Cross, Mrs Morgan, Mrs Berry Mr Morley, Mr and Mrs Dewhurst, Kitty Farthing, Michael Farthing, Avril Steed, Billy Dewhurst, Linda Pulford, Mrs Gasgin, Mrs Gladwell, Dougy Gladwell, Ronnie Balls, Jimmy and Cathy Deaks”.

“He lived at 32 Windsor Road from 1938 -1963 and he recalls the photograph being taken at the back of Bramford Road Methodist Church. Although he cannot remember the bomb actually dropping, he does remember walking to school the following morning over pavements strewn thick with glass. His brother Ron had a paper round and had seen the devastation caused to the area.

“Many windows had been blown out, most significantly those at Weston's Bakery and Cake shop, now a photographers at the end of Windsor Road where the boys used to buy their “penny stales”.

“Dad is more specific about the whereabouts of the bomb, although being five years old at the time, he does admit that his memory may be a bit hazy.

“He describes the bomb landing in the garden of a house where new properties have been built, backing onto the shops in Norwich Road. This is the old site of Meadows and Trench lock up garages, and at a time when you could cut through from Norwich Road to Bramford Lane. Army trucks were stored there throughout the War”.

“The picture rekindled many memories for Dad of watching the planes fly overhead, hiding under the stairs and making a last dash to the air raid shelter only when the real threat of danger was felt, of gas masks, search lights and sirens and of his brother Ron always finding the most impressive pieces of shrapnel or parts of a plane. They were once the proud owners of a plane propeller! He would love to know who is still around from those days! His mobile number is 07768101172.

IT seems that the German bomber circled the town. A diary kept in the Second World War details the raid: “3 November 1943. 19.05. Bramford Road to Tuddenham Road, Rushmere Road to Colchester Road. Some of the planes were Ju 88's. Two high explosives fell near the railway. Two in the Dales (woman killed) four near Brooke House (woman killed) three near railway line (line cut). Four in Norwich Road. Two on Brookfield Road, one on Kitchener Road, one on Bramford Road, one on All Saints Road, one on Yarmouth Road, one on Gatacre Road, one on Greyhound track. Two fire pots on Spencer Road and near territorial sports ground. Four on Raeburn Road and Hogarth Road (1 Killed). Incendiary bombs on Rushmere Road, Mill Farm, Westerfield, Dale Hall Farm, Castle Hill, Bramford Lane allotments, Brockley Crescent, Ashcroft Road, Western Senior School. 5454 incendiary bombs in containers of which 2928 were released. Total killed three”

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