Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°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

Fire crews are at the scene

The body of a man has been found at a house in fire in Lowestoft.

House burglary in Colchester

A laptop and camera have been stolen during a house burglary in Colchester on Friday night.

Damage is caused to a parked car in Colchester.

It is believed damage caused to a parked car in Colchester was by a vehicle which did not stop.

Dee Culley had help from her 10 year-old daughter Trinity, who had watched a birthing programme on tv, when she unexpectedly had her waters break and gave birth to Jasmin on March 31.

A nine-year-old girl helped her mum deliver her baby sister after watching TV programme One Born Every Minute.

Thatch fire in Thorndon

A total of 35 firefighters have put out a thatched cottage blaze in Thorndon.

Colchester market manager Emma Powell, Town Crier Robert Needham, Cllr Anne Turrell, Mayor John Elliott, Mayoress Janet Elliott, Roman Centurion David Carter and President of the National Market Traders Federation visited stall holders at the launch of Colchester's new market on Saturday, 18 April.

Colchester’s new Charter Market was officially launched yesterday with a day of celebration.

Woman arrested over Leiston stabbings

A 27-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with the stabbing of two men in Leiston yesterday.

Solar farm. Library image.

A proposed solar park in Wix has been tipped for approval by council planning officers.

Car crash. Library image.

Firefighters were called to a crash in Orchard Lane, Pakenham, last night.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages