Myrtle Road memorial
'The Friends of Holywells and Landseer
in memory of
Sqn Ldr Anthony Roscoe Towne Beddow DFG,
247 Squadron RAF,
who lost his life on June 29th 1949, aged 27 years,
in an air crash close to this place while leading
his squadron on 'Exercise Foil'.
'His gallantry saved the lives of his fellow countrymen'
Also remembering Pamela Cooke (aged 13 years)
who tragically died July 4th 1949 from injuries received.'
This small cast iron memorial can
be found to the left of the
Myrtle Road entrance to Holywells Park (see below). A small reminder of
death in the air after the Second World War.
Here is Alan Capon's reminsences from http://www.countyweeklynews.ca
(a curious Californian website which seems also to feature East Anglia)
dated Thursday, November 19, 2009:
"Sixty years ago, late in the afternoon of June 29, 1949, I had just
entered the main gates of Holywells Park in my hometown of Ipswich when
I heard a very loud noise. Looking into the park I saw an aircraft
strike the roof of a semi-detached house on Myrtle Road then crash
through the wall of the park into some tall trees.
As I walked further into the park I could see smoke and flames flare up
high into the trees. The remains of the pilot had been thrown some
distance from his aircraft.
The fallen aircraft was an RAF De Havilland Vampire, a single-engine
jet fighter with a distinctive twin boom configuration. I learned many
years later that the aircraft, at the time, had been engaged in a
simulated dogfight with an RAF De Havilland Hornet aircraft.
I left the park and returned home and I did not learn anything more
about this tragic event until, 51 years later, I read on the Ipswich
Evening Star web page of the dedication of a plaque honouring the
27-year old pilot, Squadron Leader Anthony Roscoe Towne Beddow who had
fought to steer his disabled plane into the park to avoid crashing into
the houses below.
The plaque fixed to the wall of Holywells Park remembers Sqn. Ldr.
Beddow and also a 13-year old girl, Pamela Cooke, who was in Myrtle
Road when the aircraft struck the roof of a house two doors from her
home. She suffered burns from the spilled fuel and died from her
injuries five days later.
The pilot's twin sons, Barry and Matthew, were just two months old when
their father died. They were present at the unveiling of the memorial
plaque in 2003.
I revisited the site of the crash in Holywells Park while on holiday in
England in October, 2003 and read the poignant words on the memorial
Looking back over the years on this tragic event it seems to me, today,
that a high-speed, low-level flight and simulated dog-fight by two
military aircraft directly over a town should never have been
In 2008, David Kindred, the now retired photo editor of the Evening
Star, recently came across a copy of the local police report on the
incident. The report, Kindred said, shows how very basic the
investigation into the crash was. Today, Kindred said, the site of an
air crash would be closed for days while every possible detail was
Myrtle Road is a short street but this was the second time a major
tragedy had occurred there. On June 2, 1943, during the Second World
War, 11 people were killed in an air raid on town. One bomb landed on
houses in Myrtle Road killing Mr. and Mrs. Smith at number 44, a few
yards from where the Vampire later crashed.
During this Second World War bombing raid a German aircraft flew
through the blast of the bomb causing it to crash into a crane at the
These memories of past days during and immediately after the war
flooded back to me at this year's Remembrance Service in Picton."
Holywell Park Gates
PRESENTED TO THE BOROUGH
ON THE 21ST. SEPTEMBER, 1935, BY
THE RIGHT HON. LORD WOODBRIDGE
(THE HIGH STEWARD OF THE BOROUGH)
AND OPENED TO THE PUBLIC
ON THE 30TH. MAY, 1936.'
Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Charles Churchman, 1st Baron
Woodbridge DL (7 September 1867 – 3 February 1949), was a British
tobacco manufacturer (Churchman's was later subsumed by British
American Tobacco Company), soldier and Conservative politician.
Churchman was the son of Henry Charles Churchman of Paget House,
Ipswich, Suffolk and Mary Anna Eade, daughter of Charles Eade. Sir
William Churchman 1st Baronet was his elder brother. Arthur was
educated at Ipswich School.
Churchman was elected Mayor of Ipswich in 1901, a post he held until
the following year (his brother William had been mayor between 1899 and
1900). He was a lieutenant-colonel in the Essex and Suffolk Royal
Garrison Artillery between 1905 and 1909 and commanded a Territorial
Force Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment as a temporary
lieutenant-colonel in the First World War. In 1917 he was created a
baronet, of Abbey Oaks in the Parish of Sproughton in the County of
Suffolk. In 1920 he was returned to Parliament for Woodbridge, which he
remained until 1929. He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Suffolk in
1930 and served as High Sheriff of the county in 1931. In 1932 he was
raised to the peerage as Baron Woodbridge, of Ipswich in the County of
Suffolk. Between 1932 and 1949 he was High Steward of Ipswich. See also
Chantry Park for another example of
Early written records indicate that the land at Holywells was part of
the Manor at Bishops Wyke which was held by the Bishops of Norwich in
the 13th century (see Wykes Bishop Street
for more on this). During Henry VIII's reign the Manor was returned to
the crown and then granted to Sir John Jermy, and then passed hands
many times before John Cobbold secured the title in 1812. The Cobold
family had been using the land since1689 to make beer; they used the
water from the natural springs and shipped it to Harwich where their
brewery was located. The last Cobbold owner of the park was John Dupuis
Cobbold (1861-1929). When he died in 1929 Holywells was sold to Lord
Woodbridge who subsequently gave it to the Borough of Ipswich. Although
the park was opened to the public in 1936, sadly the house was
demolished in 1962 except for the stable block and the conservatory
which are Listed Grade II and finally restored in 2014.
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