Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 5°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Woodbridge: Uniform tells of family history on frontline

09:45 25 July 2014

The First World War uniform of Leslie Hepworth goes on display at Woodbridge Museum. L-R: Max, Peter and Ron Hepworth.

The First World War uniform of Leslie Hepworth goes on display at Woodbridge Museum. L-R: Max, Peter and Ron Hepworth.

Archant

Three generations of the same family saw a piece of ancestral wartime heritage go on display at a museum.

shares

Ron Hepworth was joined by his son, Peter, and grandson Max at Woodbridge Museum for the unveiling of his father’s First World War uniform.

The 88-year-old, who was awarded an MBE in 2011 for his dedication to Woodbridge and is an honorary freeman of the town, lent Leslie Hepworth’s Seaforth Highlanders uniform to the museum as part of the centenary commemorations.

“I inherited the uniform and always kept it in a tin truck to keep it moth-free,” said Ron, who was awarded the defence medal and war service medal for his time in the Royal Air Force, which he joined on D-Day during the Second World War.

“I’ve worn the kilt as fancy dress but offered the full uniform to the museum to display.”

Ron’s father wanted to join the Manchester regiment of the Highlanders but was told it was fully subscribed and to report to Cromarty, where he signed up for the Seaforths.

In a letter sent from Roeux in 1918 - and still kept by Ron - the soldier describes to his parents returning to the billet for a rest after being in the trenches until 3am, only to be told to report for parade at lunchtime that day. There the 51st division stood waiting for inspection for almost four hours, before a car whizzed past carrying King George V. “The loudest cheer came from the commanding officer,” said Ron. “But the rest were quite cheesed off by then.”

At the Battle of Arras a year earlier, Leslie was knocked out by a falling tree and came round to find that all but a dozen men from the company had been killed or injured.

Leslie, who lost the sight in one eye during battle, was the youngest of three brothers to fight in the war. One of his brothers was also wounded, while the other was made officer - a role Leslie turned down when offered, because he wanted to “remain with the rest of the chaps”, according to Ron.

“He always had a scar on the back of his neck from a machine gun bullet,” he said.

Ron ended his own military career in Iceland as a non-commissioned officer in pay accounts, before working as a taxation manager for Fisons, in Ipswich. His other son, Timothy, is in the Coldstream Guards, while Peter, 50, is an accountant and lives in Surrey, with 13-year-old Max.

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Firefighters extinguished a chimney blaze near Hadleigh on Wednesday night.

Strawberry Stores in Sudbury was hit by an armed robber

An 18-year-old man was arrested in Sudbury following an armed robbery at a convenience store in the town this afternoon.

The land on Church Lane, Claydon.

Proposals for a travellers’ site to the edge of a Suffolk village have been refused by the planning authority.

Essex Police escort a delegation from the Saudi embassy during a visit to Salary Brook in Greenstead, Colchester, to see the scene where Nahid Almanea was killed last June.

Detectives investigating the murder of Nahid Almanea met with officials from the Kingdom Saudi Arabia (KSA) in Colchester today.

Shirley Ison may have made a fatal error which caused her car to collide with a tree

Driver error is believed to be the cause of a road accident in which a woman was killed, it was ruled this week.

Easter fun at Kesgrave Library. Tabitha and Sebastion Degiorgio.

Eggs – chocolate and real ones – were on everyone’s minds as a library held a family event to mark the Easter season.

Extra trains for ITFC Fans

Extra train services have been arranged for Ipswich Town fans on Good Friday.

Hagon pleaded guilty to a charge of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday, March 31 to two years and eight months imprisonment and disqualified from driving for five years, after which he must take an extended test, Essex Police said.

A driver has been jailed for two years and eight months following a serious collision in High Garrett, near Braintree.

Planners have refused homes on vacant land at Felixstowe's Haven Exchange site.

Proposals for 61 homes near the Port of Felixstowe have been refused because of the need to keep as much employment land available as possible.

Chelmsford Crown Court

A woman has been left permanently disabled after a driver who had taken a cocktail of drink and drugs smashed into her car.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages