Ipswich – Ransomes and Rapier War Memorial
Now sited at Bourne Park, Ipswich
This document was researched and written Spring 2010(with updates December 2012 and September 2013) by: Jean Austin
Additional information on the events connected with some of those killed in WW1 has been provided by Graham Jones.
Steve Girling provided photographs of the memorials in their original setting at Waterside Works.
Cover photo: Andrew Beal
Prior to being located in Bourne Park, the memorials were on the wall outside the canteen area (overlooking the bowling green) of the Waterside Works. The memorial to employees killed in the First World War was unveiled on 8 January 1921 and was initially in the ‘billiard room’. The company – which had extensive premises off the Wherstead Road, including in ‘Rapier Street’ – was closed down in 1987 (and the site is now largely redeveloped). The three sided memorial was erected in Bourne Park in 1988 – one side commemorates the employees who died in the First World War, one side those who (including civilian employees) were killed or missing in the Second World War and the third side commemorates Richard Stokes, who was long associated with the company as Chairman and Managing Director.
Those who died in the Great War, 1914-1919:
Lt Francis Stoney, Royal Engineers*
OMS Harold E Hughes, 9th Middlesex Regt
Sgt George Beaumont, 2nd Essex
Cpl William Hardwicke, RAMC
Trooper Roderick Livesey, 8th Suffolks*
Pte Benjamin C Baker, 7th Suffolks*
Pte C Bradbrook, 4th Suffolks
Pte Lancelot J Ellis, 11th Suffolks
Pte Sydney Knights, RAMC
2nd Lt Herbert Keell, 3rd Essex Regiment
Sgt John Edmund Podd, 4th Suffolks
L/Cpl Ernest Pearce, 1st Suffolks
Driver John B Hill, RFA
Pte Stanley H Pryke, 15th Suffolks
Pte Arthur Burrows, 2nd Suffolks Hussars
Pte Nelson Kirby, 4th Suffolk
Pte Alfred Moore, 4th Suffolks
Pte C W Setterfield, 1st Suffolks
Pte W Teager, 2nd Suffolks
*(Not on Christchurch Memorial)
Second World War 1939-1945:
W McPherson, Royal Navy
A G Taylor, RAF
S Dines RASC
A E Hurle Royal Navy*
W Ellonor, RAF*
G W Leftley, Royal Artillery*
R D Butler, KOYLL
K E W Wolton, 8th Rifles
W Pagett, Royal Navy*
D Underwood RAF
R W Jones, 22nd Dragoons
L Jacob Royal Navy
B L Jay, RAF*
R Spall, RAF
M C Cape, Queens Rifle Rgt*
G J Smith, The Buffs
J M Read, RAF
J Mann, Merchant Navy
J Baker, RAF
|Jane Eliza Anthony, of 65 Avondale Road, Ipswich, wife of Walter Anthony. Died 26 August 1941 age 60|
|Cyril Francis Cripps||Died 28 October 1940 age 44 at Waterside Works, Ipswich. Husband of Florence May Cripps, of 44 Crofton Road.|
|Ernest George Arthur
|Died 28 October 1940 at Waterside Works, Ipswich. Son of Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Quinton, of 48 Roseberry Road; husband of Mrs. Quinton, of 51 Clifford Road.|
|Philip Norman Sharp||Died 2 June 1942, A.M.I.Mech. E., Air Raid Warden. Son of Mr. and Mrs. George Meyrick Sharp, of 522 Felixstowe Road; husband of Miriam Sharp, of 79 Bixley Road. Died at 127 Bixley Road.|
|Henry Lee Judd||Died 28 October 1940 at Riverside Works, Ipswich. Home address 71 Clapgate Lane. Husband of Phyllis Joan Judd.|
|Herbert Charles Arthur
|Died 28 October 1940 age 24 at Waterside Works, Ipswich. Home address 30 Finchley Road. Son of Ernest George and Florence May Roberts, of 108 Thackeray Road, Whitton; husband of Ivy May Roberts.|
|Oliver Mayes||Died 4 March 1945 age 52. Son of the late James and Sarah Jane Mayes, of Rattlesden; husband of Blanche Amelia Mayes, of 26 Seymour Road. Injured at 26 Seymour Road; died same day at East Suffolk Hospital.|
|Walter Searley||Died 4 March 1945 age 22 of 29 Seymour Road. Died at 29 Seymour Road.|
|Frank Whiting||Died 28 October 1940 age 21 at Waterside Works, Ipswich. A.R.P. Ambulance Worker; of 4 Bradley Street. Son of Mr. and Mrs. F. Whiting, of 46 Westward Ho! Leiston. Died at Waterside Works, Rapier Street.|
Died 28 October 1940 age 58 at Waterside Works, Ipswich. Son of Elizabeth Cornish, of 10 Waterworks Street, and of the late Alfred Cornish; husband of Beatrice Emma Cornish, of 208 Cemetery Road.
3rd Panel: Richard Stokes; Chairman and Managing Director Ransomes and Rapier Limited 1927-1957. Member of Parliament for Ipswich 1938-1957. His Majesty’s Minister of Works 1950. Privy Councillor 1950-1955. Lord Privy Seal and Minister of Materials, 1951.
The cast plaque to Richard Stokes above the information plaque is missing from the memorial in its Bourne Park setting, but Rapiers employee Steve Girling has provided a photograph.
The unveiling of the First World War Memorial Saturday morning 8 January 1921:
The unveiling of the memorial was reported in the East Anglian Daily Times of Monday 10 January 1921 under the heading of ‘Waterside Works – Memorial to the Fallen Unveiled’. The memorial was of bronze in a stone setting and located on the wall of the billiards room, overlooking the bowling green. There was a Guard of Honour from the 4th Suffolks, under Lt K W Brown and on its flank were a large number of employees who had served in the war and returned, on the opposite side was a ‘pathetic group of those near and dear to the fallen’ and facing the memorial were staff and workmen. As the Guard of Honour came to salute, Cpl B A Goode, who had been chosen as the man with the longest army service and who had been badly wounded in the war, pulled the cord which released the Union Jack covering the memorial. Buglars sounded the ‘Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’ after which wreaths were laid at the foot of the memorial from the Directors, Col and Mrs Ionides, the staff, the workmen and the relatives, 27 in all.
On the evening of 27/28 October 1940 six on the night shift employees working in the machinery shop of Ransome and Rapier were killed when a German booby trap ‘butterfly’ bomb fell on the works; the Germans are known to have had a detailed map of Ipswich and to have identified targets for bombing – below is part of a German war time map showing the docks area of Ipswich (this map came up in an auction in 2011). The areas outlined in red (the railway marshalling yards at Stoke and the promenade area of the docks) were, according to information with the map, areas not to be bombed as they were of future strategic importance in the event of a German invasion.
31 – Waterside Works of Ransome and Rapier
43 – also part of Waterside Works
24 – Eagle Works
1 – Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies ‘Orwell Works’
6 – Cobbolds Cliff Brewery
On 2 June 1942, just before 2pm, a number of bombs fall on Felixstowe Road, Bixley Road and Bixley Heath; as well as Air Warden Phillip Sharpe, four other people were killed. Incendiary bombs were also dropped in this raid and landed in many areas of Ipswich, including at the E R & F Turners works in Foxhall Road.
The last raid on Ipswich – and one of the last of World War Two – was at about 2 am on 2 March 1945 when six houses in Seymour Road were destroyed and nine people killed, including R&R employees Oliver Mayes and Walter Searley.
The works canteen, overlooking the (very overgrown!) bowling green – the three memorial plaques are shown in their position at the time of the closure of the Waterside Works.
The memorial to Richard Stokes, in its original position on the canteen wall.