Born: 28th January 1897, Holy Wells, Ipswich.

Due to his appalling behavior as a young child his nursery nurse nicknamed him ‘Ivan the Terrible’ and the name stuck; he was known as Ivan for the rest of his life.

Died: 11:20am – 18th June 1944; age: 47; killed when a doodlebug hit the Guard’s Chapel during Sunday morning service.

Residence: Glemham Hall, Glemham, Suffolk.


First World War: Ivan joined the Scots Guards, 2nd Battalion as Lieutenant on the 3rd September 1915. He went out to France in 1916 as Captain. In 1917 Ivan received a gun shot wound to his face. Captain Cobbold stayed in the Army for a short while after the Armistice before taking his place in the family brewery business.

Date of Entry Therein: 16th July 1916 – France.

Medals Awarded: Victory & British War. Ivan’s medals issued in 1922 were sent to Sutton Hoo, Woodbridge, Suffolk.


Second World War Ivan was very anxious to be of service and rejoined the Scots Guards on the 18th October 1939, as Colonel. He undertook a range of roles, he was Aide-de-Camp to General Officer Commanding, London area, followed by Deputy Assistant Provost Marshall, London District from June 1942. In August 1942, Ivan became liaison officer with the Head Quarters of the European Theatre of Operations of the European Theater of Operations, United States Army. At the time of his death Ivan was the Commanding Officer of the Scots Guards; he was acting as liaison officer with the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, commanded by Dwight D. Eisenhower and was working closely with General Bedell Smith, Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff.

Ivan was both a longtime customer of Purdey’s and a personal friend, as well as a major shareholder in the firm. It was Ivan’s links with Tom Purdey that made it possible in 1942, for the Long Room at Purdey’s, the gun makers, to be used by General Bedell Smith and Eisenhower for battle planning, and it was later used for planning the D-Day landings.

The General had been invited to accompany Ivan to the Guards’ Chapel service on the 18th June but had been too busy to leave his office. It is possible that Colonel Gustav B. Guenther (who died in the same incident), another friend of Eisenhower, accompanied him instead.


Rank: Lieutenant Colonel; Service Number: 110300.

Regiment: Scots Guards – employed with the American forces.


Memorial Reference:

Panel 1.

Golders Green Crematorium,



A memorial service was held for Ivan on the 30th June 1944, at St Mark’s Church, North Audley Street, Mayfair, London.


Relatives Notified & Address: Son of John Dupuis Cobbold, D.L., & Lady Evelyn Cobbold; husband of Lady Blanche Cobbold, of Glemham Hall, Suffolk. D.L., J.P., Sheriff of Suffolk.



1901   Holy Wells, Ipswich.


Ivan was 4 years old and living with his father & sisters.

John Dupuis Cobbold, 40, a Brewer – employer, born The Cliff, Ipswich.

Winifred Evelyn Cobbold, 9, born Mayfair, London.

Pamela Cobbold, 1, born Holy Wells, Ipswich.

1 housekeeper

1 footman

1 nurse

1 nurse maid

1 kitchen maid

1 scullery maid

1 house maid

1 house boy

1 coachman

1 groom

On the 1901 census Ivan’s mother, Lady Evelyn Cobbold (nee Murray), 33, was a visitor to 25 year old, Magdalene Meiklejohn a Club Secretary at 66, George Street, Edinburgh, Lothian, Scotland.


Ivan attended Ipswich School – entered 1905 and Eton College entered Michaelmas Half of 1910 – left the Summer Half of 1915. Ivan’s House Master – Philip Vere Broke, and his tutor – Cuthbert Harold Blakiston. Eton XI. 1915; and Keeper of the Rackets 1915.

After the First World War Ivan took his place in the family brewery business. He became chairman after his father’s death in 1929.

Ivan was a distinguished sportsman, and a fine player of all ball games. a good fisherman and one of the best shots in the country. Moreover, he was equally interested in the sport of others.

Founder and chairman of Ipswich Town Football Club

Ivan was due to attend a Royal shooting party at Sandringham with Sir Samuel Hill-Wood, the chairman of Arsenal Football Club. The shoot was cancelled. Sir Hill-Wood invited Ivan to Highbury instead. Ivan was very impressed, and was determined that Ipswich Town should turn professional. On the 1st May 1936, after spending much time and money, Ivan, as President, held a meeting at the Town Hall, where it was agreed by all rival factions that the football club should turn professional. The team played for two seasons in the Southern League. Before joining the Football League in season 1938-1939, playing in the Third Division South.

Five members of the Cobbold family have been chairmen of I.T.F.C., and Lady Blanche Cobbold was president for many years. In the 1990’s, the Portman Stand was re-named as the Cobbold Stand.

In The Times on the 27th June 1944, Lord Cranworth wrote a personal tribute:-

‘Ivan Cobbold was a man of many talents, great abilities, and infinite charm. Moreover, he was a patriot with every fibre of his being…. There was no one on his estate or in his business with whom he was not fully acquainted and with whose welfare he was not concerned. In his busy life he never neglected public work in his country and when he undertook a job one knew that it would be done and well done. Such was the life Ivan Cobbold lived, and his manner of living it brought him much esteem and hosts of friends. But there was another Ivan of which the world knew less. This was the man who went about quietly doing kindnesses to those in trouble, whether monetary or otherwise. His heart, his hand, and his pocket were ever ready with the one proviso, “No one is to know.” He was a man of true generosity and intense loyalty and these characteristics will stand in the memory of his friends as a monument more enduring than brass.”



John Dupuis Cobbold  Mayor of Ipswich 1914-15

Ivan’s father, John Dupuis Cobbold was the son of John Patteson Cobbold, a J.P & M.P and Adela Harriette Cobbold (nee Dupuis). He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge – graduating B.A. in 1883. He succeeded his grandfather John Chevallier Cobbold in October 1882 to become head of the firm of Cobbold & Son, brewers. John was Deputy Lieutenant for Suffolk and High Sheriff in 1901. In 1914 – 1915 he was the Mayor of Ipswich. John was an excellent tennis player and hunter, and travelled extensively. He died 1929, at Holy Wells, Ipswich, and was laid to rest at Trimley St. Martin, Suffolk.

Ivan’s mother, Lady Evelyn Cobbold was the eldest daughter of Charles Adolphus Murray, 7th Earl of Dunmore & Lady Gertrude Coke. Lady Evelyn was a Scottish aristocrat, a Mayfair socialite, an accomplished angler and deerstalker and had a lust for travel (many times a lone). She found the life of domesticity hard in the sedate surroundings of Ipswich. In 1922, Lady Evelyn and her husband John Cobbold separated, but never were formally divorced. The Cobbold family arranged a generous financial settlement, including the Glencarron Estate, Wester Ross, Ross & Cromarty. From a young age Lady Evelyn felt a strong attachment to the religion of Islam. In 1933, (now known as ) Lady Zainab became the first Muslim woman in Britain to perform the Hajj Pilgrimage. A personal account of her trip was published “Pilgrimage to Mecca.” Lady Zainab died in January 1963, and as she had stipulated she was laid to rest on a hillside within her Glencarron Estate with her face facing the east and Mecca.


On the 30th April 1919, at The Chapel of the Guards, Wellington Barracks, St. James Park, London, Ivan married Lady Blanche Katherine Cavendish, born February 1898, St. George Hanover Square, London. They had 4 children.

Lady Blanche Katherine Cavendish was the second daughter of Victor Christian William Cavendish KG GCMG GCVO TD KStJ PC JP FRS, 9th Duke of Devonshire and Lady Evelyn Emily Mary Petty-Fitzmaurice GCVO JP. Blanche and Ivan met in Canada, while her father was Governor General of Canada. They married on the 30th April 1919, at The Chapel of the Guards, London. They had four children. Blanche and Ivan had just celebrated their silver wedding anniversary six weeks before Ivan was killed on the 18th June 1944, at the Guard’s Chapel Sunday service.

Blanche’s younger sister, Dorothy Cavendish married Harold Macmillian – Prime Minister of the UK 1957 – 1963.

Lady Blanche was the President of The Soldiers Sailors and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA) throughout the Second World War. She had many interests in addition to her family, home and was particularly keen on the arts. She staged occasional festivals and exhibitions at Glemham Hall and later she opened the Elizabethan-cored, Georgian-fronted hall to the public. Lady Blanche was president of Felixstowe Celebrity Concert Society for 20 years until 1973.
Among other organisations she supported as president and in various ways were Young Farmers, Girl Guides, St. John Ambulance and the Conservative Party. She had also been a magistrate and for seven years Master of the Easton Harriers. Lady Blanche had picked up her husband’s enthusiasm for football. She became the president of Ipswich Town Football Club in 1965, she continued to regularly attend matches until a few years before her death. Lady Blanche Cobbold died in 1987, at Glemham Hall.


Glemham Hall

The Cobbold family purchased Glemham Hall in 1923 from the 8th Earl of Guildford. The Grade I listed red brick Elizabethan mansion surrounded by 300 acres of parkland became the family home of Ivan & Lady Blanche. The current owner is a member of the Cobbold family.

Sunday, 18th June 1944

On Sunday, 18th June 1944, at 11am, the Bishop of Maidstone, Leslie Hay was taking the service at The Chapel of the Guards, Wellington Barracks, St. James Park, London. The service was to give thanks for the success of the Normandy Landings, it was also the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. The congregation was an international mix of aristocracy, military, civilians, families and friends. The lesson had just been read by Lord Edward Douglas John Hay when a distant buzzing of a V1 was heard, it grew louder and louder and turned into a roar overhead. The engine cut out and the V1 glided down and exploded onto the chapel. The roof, supporting walls and pillars collapsed burying the congregation in 10ft of rubble. Ivan was one of over hundred killed. The operation to free the survivors took 48 hours.


Probate to Lady Blanche Katherine Cobbold – widow and Eric John Gurteen Webb – chartered accountant.


Ivan is also remembered on the Ipswich School Chapel war memorial and the Rannoch war memorial on the East bank of Loch Rannoch, Scotland.


Eton College information courtesy of Joshua – archivist assistant.

Photographs and extra information courtesy of Anthony

Extra information courtesy of Jan Gore – ‘Send More Shrouds’

Posted in Second World War

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