By Gerald Main
Here’s a good one for the pub quiz. What’s the connection between the First World War nurse, Edith Cavell, who was shot for being a spy, and the Suffolk village of Hintlesham? The answer is the village war memorial. One hundred years ago, it was draped with the same Union Jack flag that two weeks earlier had covered the new statue of the famous nurse in Trafalgar Square.
In June 1920, the biggest gathering the village had ever seen crowded around the war memorial to see it being unveiled. The great and the good were all there, including the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and the High Sheriff. The villagers were lined up six deep on the road opposite the church, straining to see the event and discover what a war memorial looked like.
100 years on, Hintlesham will be commemorating the anniversary on Sunday 14 June with a short service at 11:00 am followed by a re-dedication of the memorial. The 40 names on the memorial will be read out, including a new name which will be added to the memorial in time for the anniversary.
The new addition is the name of Pilot Officer Harold G Tipple. Harold died just before Christmas 1939 when the plane he was flying crashed at Vauxhall Farm near Chattisham. The 19-year-old RAF flyer had received no training in the aircraft before the fateful flight and, as smoke billowed from his engine, he attempted to bale out. Tragically, he left it too late and the plane hit a tree on the farm. Harold was buried at Hintlesham and by the end of the war, his immediate family had all died.
For many years, Harold’s grave was tended by a lady in the village and her granddaughter. There was no family connection; looking after “the pilot’s grave” was simply an act of kindness. 80 years on, the pilot will be remembered for his service and his sacrifice.
The full story of Pilot Officer Tipple can be found on www.HintleshamWarMemorial.com
The website, run by former BBC Radio Suffolk Editor, Gerald Main, has details of all the men listed on the memorials in Hintlesham & Chattisham.