Cobbwebs News & Views

Here the Trust provides News & Views that are of interest to the family and to a wider audience.  They can be downloaded as PDF documents. 

Cobbwebs stay in this section for up to 6 months. Thereafter they go to the Cobbwebbs Archive.

Cobbwebs News & Views

Page 4 of 18

5. Lt. Cdr. Malcolm David Wanklyn V...June 2019

We can do no better than to reprint our Cobbweb of August 2017

“The ship and her company are gone, but the example and the inspiration remain.”

Thus wrote Their Lordships of The Admiralty (unusually) when reporting that H M Submarine UPHOLDER (Lieutenant Commander M D Wanklyn VC DSO** RN) had been lost. It was April 1942.

Under the command of David Wanklyn UPHOLDER’S first war patrol was from Portsmouth to Gibraltar early in 1941. Thereafter Mediterranean patrols typically lasted 2 to 3 weeks with 10 days between to refuel and rearm in Malta. These supposed rest periods were frequently interrupted by air-raids upon which UPHOLDER dived to the bottom of the harbour. In a little under 12 months Malcolm David Wanklyn and his crew were credited with sinking over 93,000 tons of enemy shipping and damaging a further 34,000 tons.

The sinking of ‘Conte Rosse.’ This attack was to earn Wanklyn the award of the Victoria Cross, the first awarded to a submariner in World War II. Here is the citation:

On the evening of 24th May 1941, whilst on patrol off the coast of Sicily, Lieutenant-Commander Wanklyn in command of His Majesty’s Submarine UPHOLDER, sighted a southbound enemy troop convoy, strongly escorted by destroyers. The failing light was such that observation by periscope could not be relied on, but a surface attack would have been easily seen. UPHOLDER’S listening gear was out of action. In spite of these handicaps, Lt. Cdr. Wanklyn decided to press home his attack at short range. He quickly steered his craft into a favourable position and closed in so as to make sure of his target. By this time the whereabouts of the escorting destroyers could not be made out. Lt. Cdr. Wanklyn, while fully aware of the risk of being rammed by one of the escort, continued to press on towards the enemy troopships. As he was about to fire, one of the enemy destroyers suddenly appeared out of the darkness at high speed and he only just avoided being rammed. As soon as he was clear he brought his periscope sights on and fired torpedoes, which sank a large troopship. The enemy destroyers at once made a strong counter-attack and during the next 20 minutes dropped 37 depth charges near UPHOLDER. The failure of his listening device made it much harder for him to get away, but with the greatest courage, coolness and skill he brought UPHOLDER clear of the enemy and safe back to harbour.

David Wanklyn was the Royal Navy’s top submarine ace, the most successful submariner in the Western Allied Navies and the most highly decorated Royal Navy hero of the second World War.

Lt. Cdr. Malcolm David Wanklyn VC, DSO** RN (1911-1942) #9837 on the web family tree

4. Lt. Cdr. Patrick Noel Humphreys ...June 2019

Patrick went to Britannia Royal Naval College in 1926.  Although the United Kingdom was, of course, neutral in the Spanish Civil War, Lieutenant Humphreys was serving on board H.M.S. Hunter on the 13th. May 1937, when it was mined off Almeira. This caused an explosion underneath the Stoker Petty Officers' and Torpedomens' Mess Decks, and the ladder was blown away. In order to reach the ratings on these decks, Lieutenant Humphreys and four others under his command had to jump down eight feet, into three feet of oil fuel. Although Humphreys and the other four were in danger of falling through the shattered mess decks, they dragged both living and dead out from the wreckage and the oil fuel. Some of the rescued had swallowed oil fuel, others were severely burned, and all would have died if they had not been rescued so quickly. Lieutenant Humphreys was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal for this deed. When the George Cross was inaugurated, on the 24th. September 1940, his E.G.M. was exchanged for the new medal. Before the Second World War broke out, Humphreys joined the Fleet Air Arm. He took part in the raid on the Italian fleet at Taranto, and was mentioned in dispatches. in 1942, he was appointed to form and command the first Fleet Air Arm night fighter squadron. Unfortunately, the next year, he was killed in a take-off crash from West Malling Airfield in Kent. The inscription at the base of his gravestone, "They shall mount up with wings as eagles", is taken from the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 40, Verse 31.

Sadly, no image of Patrick is available at present.  He is buried in Plot CC1, Grave 108 in Maidstone Cemetery, Kent.


Lt. Cdr. Patrick Noel Humphreys GC, RN (1913-1943) #1961 on the web family tree

3. Dudley Graham Johnson VC, CB, DS...June 2019

Dudley served with the 3rd Wiltshire Regiment during the second Boer War transferring to the South Wales Borderers on 4th July 1903 where he was Adjutant from 1909 to 1912.  Serving in China with 2nd Bn. at the outbreak of WWI, he was awarded the DSO for his actions on the night of the 5th/6th November 1914 in Tsing-tau, China.  The citation was posted in the London Gazette on 16th March 1915.  He then saw service in Egypt and Gallipoli from March to June 1915.

He joined The Royal Sussex Regiment in November 1916 and was the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Bn. from March 1918 until April 1919.  He was awarded the MC on 1st January 1918.  It was during the assault on the Sambre Canal on 4th November 1918 (a week before the Armistice) that he was to perform the action which led to the award of the Victoria Cross.

The 2nd Infantry Brigade, of which 2nd Bn. Royal Sussex formed part, was ordered to cross the lock south of Catellon.  The position was strong and before the bridge could be thrown, a steep bank leading up to the lock and a waterway about 100 yards short of the canal had to be crossed.  The assaulting platoons and bridging parties, Royal Engineers, on their arrival at the waterway were thrown into confusion by a heavy barrage and machine gun fire, and heavy casualties were caused.

At this moment Lt. Col. Johnson arrived and realising the situation at once collected men to man the bridges and assist the Royal Engineers and personally led the assault.  In spite of his efforts heavy fire again broke up the assaulting and bridging parties.  Without any hesitation he again organised the platoons and bridging parties and led them at the lock, this time succeeding in effecting a crossing after which all went well.  During all this time Lt. Col. Johnson was under heavy fire which, though it nearly decimated the assaulting columns, left him untouched.  His conduct was a fine example of great valour, coolness and intrepidity, which, added to his splendid leadership and offensive spirit that he had inspired in his Battalion, were entirely responsible for the successful crossing.

Dudley Graham Johnson VC, CB, DSO*, MC (1884-1975) #6128 on the web family tree. 

2. Bernard Cyril Freyberg VC, GCMG, ...June 2019

It is believed that in April 1914 Bernard Freyberg served as a Captain Volunteer with the Mexican Carrancistas during the Mexican Civil War.  He deserted in late July on hearing of the impending war in Europe, and with a price on his head, he hitchhiked to get a steamer for New York.  He eventually arrived in Liverpool on 24th August.  He caught a train for London in order to enlist in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.  (He was born in Richmond, Surrey but brought up in New Zealand).  He was told that all officer places had been filled, and he was advised to try the newly formed Royal Naval Division.  He approached Winston Churchill, and gained his encouragement to win a temporary commission as a Lieutenant RNVR on 8th September 1914.  He was allocated to the Hood Battalion to command A Company.  He was known as ‘Khaki Jack’ as he arrived in khaki whereas most officers were still wearing naval blue.  His fellow officers in A Company were known as the ‘Argonauts’, and included Rupert Brooke.

Following training in Kent, they embarked to Dunkirk on 2nd October 1914, and then on to Antwerp.  Whilst in the trenches at Antwerp, Freyberg was severely burnt on the hand on the electrified barbed wire system.  He was hospitalised at Ostend before returning to Britain.  In March 1915 the battalion was deployed to Turkish waters around Gallipoli.  Following training at Port Said they prepared for the Gallipoli landings.  A platoon from A Company was to land and light flares at intervals along the beach to fool the Turks into thinking a full scale landing was happening.  Freyberg believed that it could be done with just one or two swimmers with less risk.  Freyberg’s request was turned down, but he made the swim alone and succeeded in his mission.  For his actions he was awarded the DSO.

During the Second Battle of Krithnia on 8th May he was wounded in the abdomen and evacuated.  He returned in mid-June and was appointed Temporary CO of the Hood Battalion.  He was wounded again on 25th July and was evacuated to Egypt until August.  He left the peninsular on 27th February 1916 to head for Marseilles and then England for ten weeks to recover from his wounds.  He went to France to rejoin the Battalion on 1st May and transferred to the Royal West Surrey Regiment as a Captain and Temporary Lieutenant Colonel on 19th May, but remained to command Hood Battalion.

On 13th November 1916 at Beaucourt-sur-Ancre, France, after Freyberg’s battalion had carried the initial attack through the enemy’s front system of trenches, he rallied and re-formed his own much disorganised men and some others, and led them on a successful assault of the second objective, during which he suffered two wounds, but remained in command and held his ground throughout the day and the following night.  When re-inforced the next morning he attacked and captured a strongly fortified village, taking 500 prisoners.  Though wounded twice more, the second time severely, Freyberg refused to leave the line until he had issued final instructions.

He was evacuated to London where he recovered for three months, and was gazetted for the Victoria Cross.  He returned to France in February 1917 and was appointed Temporary Brigadier-General and Commander 173rd Brigade from April to September 1917.  He was wounded in five places by a shell-burst during an attack on St. Julien, Ypres on 19th September and reverted to Major on relinquishing command on 15th November.

On 2nd January 1918 he received his VC from King George V at Buckingham Palace.

Bernard Cyril Freyberg VC, GCMG, KCB, KBE, DSO*** (1889-1963) #3174 on the web family tree


1. Alexander Edward Murray VC, DSO, M...June 2019

As Lieutenant Viscount Fincastle, before he had inherited his father’s Earldom, he was posted to India, and became Aide de camp to the Viceroy of India from 1895 to 1897, and served in the Dongola Expedition in 1896 being awarded two medals.  In 1897 he served in the Frontier War, Malakand, with the Guides Cavalry, and took part in the action at Landakai, having his horse shot from under him.

During the fighting at Nawa Bali, in Upper Swat, on 17th August 1897, Lieutenant-Colonel R. B. Adams proceeded with Lieutenant H. L. S. MacLean and Viscount Fincastle, and five men of the Guides, under a very heavy and close fire, to the rescue of Lieutenant R. T. Greaves, Lancashire Fusiliers, who was lying disabled by a bullet wound and surrounded by the enemy’s swordsmen.  In bringing him under cover Lieutenant Greaves was struck by a bullet and killed – Lieutenant MacLean was mortally wounded – whilst the horses of Lieutenant-Colonel Adams and Lieutenant Viscount Fincastle were shot, as well as two troop horses.

Fincastle was gazetted for the Victoria Cross on 9th November 1897, and received his medal from Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on 28th February 1898.

Alexander Edward Murray VC, DSO, MVO 8th Earl of Dunmore (1872-1962)  #1722 on the web family tree


Our family tree includes 4 recipients of the Victoria Cross and 2 recipients of the George Cross.  These were awarded between 1897 and 1942.  Sadly, none of the recipients is still living but we will be remembering them this month as part of our commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings on 6th June 1944.

The Victoria Cross was introduced on 29th January 1856 by Queen Victoria to reward the bravery of her soldiers in the Crimean War. Originally all Commonwealth combatants were eligible but since then Australia, New Zealand and Canada have introduced their own equivalents. Initially the VC could not be awarded to those who had died in the action but this was changed in 1902 when 6 VCs were awarded posthumously to soldiers of the Second Boer War.

The George Cross was instituted on 24th September 1940 by King George VI at the height of the London blitz. It is awarded to recognise civilian gallantry in the face of the enemy. The GC replaced the Empire Gallantry Medal (EGM) and all holders of the EGM were instructed to exchange their medals for the new GC, a substitution unprecedented in the history of British decorations. This substitution ignored holders of the Albert Medal (AM) and the Edward Medal (EM) awards which both took precedence over the EGM. The anomaly was rectified in 1971 when the surviving recipients of the AM and the EM became George Cross recipients and were invited to exchange their medal for the George Cross.  John Gregson (1924-2016) #10872 on the web family tree was one of the 16 holders of the AM who refused the option to exchange. He argued that it was the AM he had been given by George VI and it was the AM that he intended to keep for the rest of his life.

The next 6 Cobbwebs are devoted to our 6 recipients and are presented in date of award order starting with the oldest.

Maj. Robert Nevill CobboldJune 2019

The Times, on August 18th 1944 carried his obituary: 

“The news of Robert Cobbold's death in action in Italy will have come as a cruel blow, not only to his family, but to all those, in every walk of life, who were privileged to enjoy his friendship. For with him the art of friendship was a gift rich and rare, & to see him again, however often, was to experience anew a thrill of pleasure. It seemed as if care and worries were all swept aside in the warmth of his welcome, and one felt, immediately, a strange sense of happiness and contentment, and a renewed joy in life.

And how he himself enjoyed his own life, in all its varied aspects! He was supremely happy in his family business, where his compelling charm won him so many friends, and it is possibly here that he will be missed most of all. But there will be many, who, like the writer, shared with him all his other interests, who will feel that, by his passing, they have lost something precious and irreplaceable - something of the spirit of companionship and happiness which were so peculiarly his.

Those who have shot or fished with him, or seen him with his beloved dogs, or, on a golf course, running, always running, down the fairway, will know that this is so. For he contributed, all unconsciously, so much to our enjoyment that, without him, it will not, and cannot, be the same again. The spice is gone.

To his wife, who shared his happy life for so tragically few years, and to all his family - and perhaps most of all, to his father, to whom he was, as a friend has said to the writer, "a part of his daily life" - the hearts of all who knew Robert Cobbold will go out in true and generous sympathy.

Their loss is grievous, but the memories - golden, bright and happy - will always remain. "For Death he taketh all away, but these he cannot take". May these memories serve as a comfort to his family - and, indeed to us all - in the years that lie ahead".

Robert Nevill Cobbold, (1904-1944) #470 on the web family tree, was killed in the battle of Cassino in Italy on 27th May 1944 just a few days before D-Day whilst serving with the 3rd Battalion, Welsh Guards.   He is commemorated at Eton, on the War memorial at Tattingstone, Suffolk and in St. Mark’s English Church, Florence.  His headstone in the Cassino War Cemetary is inscribed “In this rich earth a richer dust concealed that is for ever England”.  This puts us in mind, of course, of Rupert Brooke’s great first World War poem; so poignant that there is no apology for reproducing it here:


The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:

That there's some corner of a foreign field

That is for ever England. There shall be

In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;

A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,

Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,

A body of England's, breathing English air,

Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,

A pulse in the eternal mind, no less

Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;

Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;

And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,

In hearts at peace, under an English heaven

June 6th 1944 OPERATION OVERLORDJune 2019

This month marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day.  If nothing else, a family history trust should commemorate those family members who made the ultimate sacrifice.  Thirteen Cobbolds died in World War II.  Two died in June 1944.

Lance Corporal Percy Leonard Cobbold lost his life during the Allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day itself, 6th June.  He was a member of 242 HQ Provost Company of the Corps of Military Police.  He was just 35 years old, the son of Charles William and Lizzie Cobbold of Broadwater, Worthing, Sussex and the husband of Eveline Rebecca Mary Cobbold, also of Worthing, Sussex.  Sadly, that is all the Trust knows about Percy; we have no photograph and we cannot place him on the family tree.  If anyone is able to help please speak up.

Also killed in June, on Sunday 18th, just twelve days after the invasion, was Lt. Colonel John Murray (Ivan) Cobbold #448 on the web family tree, who ironically had been a member of Bernard Montgomery’s team planning the D-Day invasion of Europe with Dwight D Eisenhower’s staff.  Ivan went to morning service at the Guards’ Chapel the day a doodlebug exploded on the chapel killing over 120 worshippers.  A friend and fellow sportsman, Lord Alanbrooke described his death as ‘a ghastly blow to me, made all the worse by the fact that when Brian Boyle was telling me of his death, I was actually picking up Ivan’s letter off my blotting pad.  His invitation to lunch that week made a very large lump rise in my throat’.  Ivan had been married in the Guards’ Chapel some 25 years previously and had held a silver wedding thanksgiving service there about three months before.



Augustus Hills Cobbold (1854-1931) #281 on the web family tree married 3 times. One of his granddaughters by his third marriage to Ellen Stanley Townsend (1857-1933) #284 is Elizabeth Anne Jauncey (b 1928) # 433. Elizabeth has been most generous to the Trust having donated first editions of many of Richard Cobbold’s books as well as an album of Elizabeth Cobbold’s (1765-1824) #58 famous paper-cut Valentines. Our debt of gratitude is unquestionable. We have written previously about Brownhill House near Southampton, where Elizabeth was born and it is sad to report that it is about to be demolished to make way for housing having been for many years a much-loved nursing home.

We have not written previously about Augustus Hill’s first marriage to Mary Constance Eden (1852-1884) # 282. There were 2 children of the marriage before Mary died of Pneumonia aged only 32. The daughter was Alice Mary Cobbold (1879-1968) #422 who married Capt. Duncan Tatton Brown (1875-1960) #423 thereby linking the Cobbolds to the resourceful and prolific Tatton Brown family. The son, Mary’s younger brother was Maj. Neville Eden Cobbold (1882-1944) #424 whose passage on the world-famous Windjammer the Herzogin Cecilie gives rise to this story.

With Maj. Neville a passenger, the Herzogin Cecilie left Port Lincoln in Australia carrying 4,295 tons of grain and reached Falmouth in a record-breaking 86 days on 23rd April 1936. Built in Bremerhaven in 1902, she was a full-rigged, steel hulled four-masted sailing ship which proved so fast that she was purchased by Captain Gustaf Eriksson in 1921 with the express purpose of competing in the annual ‘grain races’. Feeling the effects of the Great Depression she started carrying passengers in the 1930s. Having disembarked her passengers in Falmouth she immediately set sail for Ipswich. At 3.50 the following morning in thick fog she struck the Ham Stone on Devon’s ‘Fatal Shore’. The Salcombe lifeboat took off most of the crew but she lay there stranded for seven weeks before being towed into Starehole Bay, being refused permission to enter Salcombe in case she sank and blocked the harbour. Only 464 tons of grain were saved but many of her fine accommodations and fittings were retrieved to be housed in the Alands Sjofartsmuseum, Finland.

She was the last of the truly great clipper ships and when she was breaking up in Starehole Bay thousands came to mourn her passing including Rowland Hope Cobbold (1905-1986) #407 whose 1936 photograph of her is in the Trust’s collection.


In December, Engineering Fellow and fount of all Caius knowledge, Dr Michael Wood wrote to the Editor of the Daily Telegraph to get the story straight about the origins of the Cambridge blue.

His letter, published on 24th December 2018, replied to an article entitled ‘How Eton blue became the Cambridge colour’, which stated, correctly, that ‘Cambridge blue has its roots in the second Boat Race, held in 1836.’

In his letter, Dr Wood wrote:

‘Sir – There were three Caius men in the Cambridge boat of 1836. Tradition has it that they called for R N Phillips to get a light blue ribbon to correspond with the colour of the well established flag of the Caius College Boat Club. The nearest haberdashers only had Eton Blue, which was purchased and used.

Cambridge won by 20 lengths. After this, the University Boat Club asked whether the university could take over the colour. The College graciously agreed, so the university light blue is actually Caius blue. We still carry the light blue stripe on our blades.’

Caius 1st men’s boat went Head of the River in the 2018 Lent Bumps. The club was founded in 1827 and built a new boathouse in 2016. The clock tower is a privilege allowed only to clubs that have held the May Bumps headship for 5 successive years.

The blades awarded to 2 family members commemorate crews which achieved 4 bumps in either the Lent or May events.


The Trust is pleased to have added the following items to its archive:

  • The 14th Century History of the Cotehele, Edgcumbe and Brendon families by Tom Brendon.
  • Gates of Adventure V. Ipswich: Port of East Anglia, an article from The Geographical Magazine of June 1939, by Captain J M Cobbold, JP.
  • On the Embryogeny of Orchis Mascula, an article by T Spencer Cobbold MD
  • A new Form of Naked Eye Medusa (Thaumantias achroa) with Histological Details, an article by T Spencer Cobbold, MD., FLS. Communicated to Linnean Society, March, 1857.
  • A photograph from a 1907 magazine showing a steam driven brewer’s dray delivering to the Asylem Hotel.

The Trust is particularly grateful for financial donations received from Andrew Hughes Hallett, David Jamieson, Tim & Carolyn Cobbold, Marika Cobbold and Gill Gowing.

The Trust is also grateful for help given, often with family tree information, by (in no particular order):

Jim Harrison, Nicky Hibbin, Jane Dismore, David Rowley, Adele Mallen, Steve Painton, Neil Lupin, Vanessa Griffith, Peta Bruce, Carolyn Cobbold, Sally Hacking, Laurie Forth, Deborah Hughes Hallett, Robin Doughty, Sue Coales, Leslie Rhodes and Peter Carr.


The Trust is pleased to have added the following to its archive and is particularly grateful to all donors

  • Tales of the Boyhood of Great British Painters by Lady Marain Jervis #2766
  • Gleanings. Poems by Lady Marian Jervis #2766
  • Cricket Team Photo, early 20th Century, including P W Cobbold #324

Family tree information from (in no particular order):

Rowell Bell, Adele Mallen, Anne Young, Peter & Vicki Carr, Julian Royle, Daphne Stevens, Robert Farinella, Serge Comini, John Price, Calixte George, Sarah Banbury, Honor Wayne, Lois Mills, Walter Bonnici, Andrew Hughes Hallett, Neil Lupin, Gwyn Howells, Dick & Jeannie Cobbold and Mary Naylor.

Our thanks go to those who have made, and continue to make, financial donations to the Endowment Fund. This is the fund which underwrites the future of the Trust.Thank you.


Charlie Sharp, General Secretary of the thriving Margaret Catchpole Bowls Club, which is familiar to many as part of the pub located at the entrance to Holywells Park recently sent the Trust a substantial history of the Club which has taken its rightful place in the Trust archive.

We cannot possibly reproduce the entire history so it seems appropriate that we should  focus on the early days when the Cobbold family was much involved. The Club is named after the heroine of Richard Cobbold’s historical novel of the same name. This best seller was published in 1845 and immediately ran to 5 editions so it is little wonder that Margaret Catchpole is well embedded in Suffolk lore.

The first landlord of the pub was Cecil George Farr who had previously been on the staff of the Duke of Devonshire (#2452 on the web family tree) at Chatsworth; he took up his post on 1st January 1939 and in the spring of the same year John Murray (Ivan) Cobbold, as head of the Cobbold Brewery, agreed that a Bowling Green be laid and a pavilion built. Everything went on hold during the war and sadly Ivan was killed by a doodle-bug in the Guards’ Chapel on 18th June 1944 just 12 days after the Normandy landings which he had been helping to plan. After the war Alister Cobbold (Ivan’s nephew) #472 who had taken over responsibility for the Brewery honoured his uncle’s pledge and became president of the Club; after a false start during which roses started growing through the green sward, an excellent green was established and the Club was able to start playing matches – friendlies at first but in 1952 the Club only narrowly lost a serious match against a Suffolk EBA Select.

The Club thrived. It founded the Suffolk Triples League and proceeded to win it in the first two seasons; Derek Johnson arrived at the Club, won countless matches and went on to play for England; a prefabricated pavilion was built in1963 and, well ahead of the game, lady bowlers were admitted in 1964.  Many more successes were achieved through the years as the membership grew and members’ skills prevailed. Every member played his or her part but it is probably not unfair to single out Derek Farr (son of George) and Derek Johnson as of critical influence in the success of the Club in its first 80 years!

TAXI! TAXI?March 2019

Two family members have recently used London Taxis to help promote their businesses. Both businesses are highly successful but we are not suggesting the taxis were more than marginally responsible!

James Staughton (1959)#1358 on the web family tree joined Cornwall’s St. Austell Brewery in 1980, was appointed to the Board in 1988, became Managing Director in 2000 and Chief Executive in 2015. He is the great, great grandson of Walter Hicks who founded the business in 1851. Today it is a fine independent, diversified and growing company; the largest wholesale distributor of beers, wines, spirits, ciders and soft drinks in the South West and winner last year of the Queen’s award for enterprise.

Humphrey Cobbold (1964) #645 joined Leeds-based PureGym as CEO in 2015 when it had 84 no-frills gyms. The business had been founded by Peter Roberts in 2009. Acquired by private equity house CCMP in 2013 and sold on to Los Angeles-based Leonard Green & Partners for £600m in November 2017, it now has 240 gyms in UK all open 24 hours a day and with over 1 million members is Britain’s largest.


The Trust is pleased to have added the following to its archive and is particularly grateful to all donors

  • ‘So Far So Good’ a memoir by Christopher Haines, gift of the author.
  • ‘Bird Summons’ by Leila Aboulela, gift of the author
  • Akenfield’ a video, gift of Annie and Belinda Hasted
  • ‘Lion Hunting in Abyssinia’ 190

Family tree information from (in no particular order):

Elizabeth Seekings, David Jamieson, Sarah Houstoun, Leslie Rhodes, Nicky Hibbin, Catherine Armitage, Carolyn and Tim Cobbold, Emma Staughton, Virginia van der Lande, Caroline Smith, Rowell Bell, Mike Sparrow, Adele Mallen, Chris Dunham, Hugh Chevallier, Charlie Sharp, Gerry Lowth, Victoria Parker-Jervis, Martin and Caroline Surgey, Jane MacDonald-Styslinger, Lottie Haylor, Bill Norton, Lois Cordelia and Louise Fairs-Johnson.

Our thanks go to those who have made, and continue to make, financial donations to the Endowment Fund.  This is the fund which underwrites the future of the Trust.  Thank you.   


Perronelle Guild, [1902-2004 #709 on the web family tree] who has died aged 101, was the only woman cyder-maker in eight generations of the Chevallier family at Aspall Hall in Suffolk; a successful fruit-farmer before the Second World War, in 1946 she was a founder member of the Soil Association, as a result of which Aspall Cyder became an organic producer - a tradition it maintains to this day.

She was born Perronelle Mary Chevallier on July 31st 1902 at Aspall Hall, a moated, red-brick, largely Jacobean house in the Domesday village of Aspall in Suffolk.

Aspall Hall was bought in 1702 by Temple Chevallier of Jersey [1674-1722 #11811]; but when he died childless in 1722 the house was left to Perronelle's great-great-great grandfather, Clement Chevallier [1698-1762 #1330] of St. Helier.

Once installed at Aspall, Clement Chevallier tried to grow vines; but this venture proved unsuccessful, and he decided, in 1728, to make cider, importing apple trees from Jersey (a quarter of the island was devoted to apple orchards at the time) and a granite crushing-wheel and trough from the Ile de Chaussee in Normandy.  It proved a good investment and was in use until 1951.

Clement Chevallier's descendants were farmers, vicars and scholars.  They included the 

Rev Professor Temple Chevallier (1794-1873) [#2116], Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Durham University, who discovered a mountain on the moon; and the Rev. John "Barley" Chevallier (1774-1856) [#729],Perronelle's father, John Barrington Chevallier [1857-1940 #207 who married Isobel Amy Cobbold 1869-1931 #208], had a pedigree herd of prizewinning Red Poll cows and introduced the "y" in Aspall cyder to differentiate it from the west country variety.  He also sold Aspall apples and cyder by mail order, sending them as far north as Manchester via the local Mid Suffolk Light Railway, and exported cyder to India.

Perronelle's childhood was rural and old-fashioned; there was no electricity, mains water or bathrooms at the Hall until after the war.  The household was self-sufficient, boasting a dairy, laundry, carpenters' shop, fish ponds and bread oven.

Perronelle and her sisters were educated at home by a governess.  During the First World War, barely in her teens and with the men from the farm away fighting, she would drive herself 15 miles into Ipswich in a pony and trap for French lessons.  A keen rider, she also went hunting - even for otters, although they were never caught.

At the age of 16 Perronelle went up to Reading University to read Agriculture, but the following year she was obliged to leave when her father ran out of money; he had felt duty bound to keep on all his farmhands who had returned from the war.  The next few years were spent helping her father run Aspall, which then included arable farming as well as fruit.  She was a sharp businesswoman; the family said that the only time the farm made a profit was when her father was ill and she took charge.

In the mid-1920s she met Cyril Guild [1906-1978 #711] at a fruit-farming conference in Norfolk.  They married in 1929 and had three children.  Throughout the 1930s Cyril and Perronelle ran the fruit-farm at Aspall, growing plums, strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants which were transported round Britain.

In 1940 her father died, leaving Aspall to his eldest daughter, who decided to sell it.  Perronelle Guild offered to buy it, but even at a generous price it was difficult to raise the money; an exceptionally good fruit crop that year made all the difference, and when the war ended and the Army (which had troops billeted at the house) moved out, the Guilds took over the house and Cyder business.

In 1946, inspired by the example of their Suffolk neighbour, Lady Eve Balfour, they became founder members of the Soil Association, an organisation which now certifies all organic produce in Britain.  Since 1946, all the cyder produced at Aspall has been made from certified organic apples; and in 2002, at the age of 99, Perronelle Guild was a poster girl for Sainsbury's Organics, as one of the Soil Association's last surviving original members.

Until the 1970s, cyder production at Aspall was run by just one man, rising to two during the crushing season.  Harry Sparrow, who was in charge of the Cyder House from the 1920s to the 1960s, once produced 18,000 gallons in six weeks.  Cyder was sold to the public at the Cyder House (situated across the moat from the Hall), as it always had been.  Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears were regular customers, as was the Scottish playwright James Bridie, the Suffolk writer Adrian Bell, and the artists Margaret Mellis and Francis Davison.

The Guilds were dedicated to east Suffolk, particularly the coast, where Perronelle used to find cornelians on the beach and pick sea kale to go with her rook pie (cooked in late May, when the rooks were young and tender).  She kept chickens and ducks and, at one stage, guineafowl which, though splendid guards, always failed to recognise her in a hat on the way to church.  She controlled the moorhen population - who used to drown baby ducklings in the moat - by removing eggs from their nests with a spoon attached to a length of bamboo.

Her elder son John took over the cyder business in 1971 and enlarged and modernised it, introducing the commercial production of apple juice and cyder vinegar.  After Cyril Guild died in 1978, Perronelle began to travel extensively, and visited India, China, Russia, Egypt, Albania and Eastern Turkey in her eighties.  She continued to bake her own bread, make marmalade, garden, paint and entertain into her nineties.

She was a fund of folk lore, such as "always kill a pig during a rising moon".  Since 1993 Aspall Cyder has been run by her grandsons, Barry and Henry Chevallier Guild, who still blend the cyder from trees planted by their grandmother.  Perronelle Guild who died on February 15th, is survived by a son and a daughter.  Another son predeceased her.

Daily Telegraph obituary written by Perronelle's granddaughter Annabel Freyberg (1961-2013) #2398 Perronelle's great grandfather, who in the 1820s developed a high-yield strain of barley that, by the turn of the 20th century, was used for three-quarters of the world's barley crops.

ITFC and an Honorary DoctorateMarch 2019

Ipswich Town Football Club is having an unhappy time just now.  Perhaps we could lift our morale a little by remembering better times in the expectation that they will return before too long.  The Club’s longest serving and most dedicated employee, Pat Godbold, now the Archivist, was PA to Sir Bobby Robson for 36 years and worked for nine Ipswich managers including Scott Duncan, Sir Alf Ramsey and George Burley.  She received a medal for 50 years’ service to Football in 2004 from the FA.  Last October she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Suffolk.

Asked what was the best day of her life she replied without hesitation ‘Watching Town win the FA Cup final in 1978’.  Asked what do you want to talk about most she replied ‘I could talk for England – mostly about my 64-year fantastic career at Ipswich Town Football club’.

John Murray Cobbold (1897-1944) #448 on the web family tree, put up the money for ITFC to become professional in 1936.  The Chairmen’s Board shows that Pat worked with 4 other Cobbolds; Philip Wyndham (1875-1945) #324; Alistair Philip (1907-1971) #472; John Cavendish (1927-1983) #575 and Patrick Mark (1934-1994) #576.

As dedicated supporters of ITFC we celebrate Pat’s years of devoted service and congratulate her on her honorary doctorate in the certain knowledge that we would be joined in so doing by all former Chairmen.


The Trust is pleased to have added the following to its archive and is particularly grateful to all donors:

  • A Tolly Cobbold advertising clock
  • Miniature book of Common Prayer (A. Thursby-Pelham) from Kevin Stanley
  • 2 newspaper cuttings: Ivan Cobbold and Harriet Ann Cobbold
  • ‘The District Visitor’ (1935) by Helen M Cobbold
  • ‘House Hunt’ an article on Glemham Hall, Suffolk
  • War Diaries 1939-1945 by Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke
  • Gold Signet Ring (Jill Cobbold)
  • Adulation or Adulteration?  A paper by Dr Carolyn Cobbold
  • 11 photographic prints on related subjects
  • ‘Marlborough College and the Great War in 100 Stories’

Family tree information from (in no particular order):

Nigel Sawyer, Peter Head, Nicky Hibbin, Simon Toynbee, Emma Tristram, Susanna Graham-Jones, David Jamieson, Owen Chapman, Robin Doughty, Bev Bowry, Kevin Stanley, Simon Dickens, Peter Clarke, David Ryder Richardson, Charlotte Hayler, Sylvia Daintrey, Iain Sanders, Catherine Buchanan, Martin Riley, John Deen, Robin Minter-Kemp, Nicki Wilson, Jan Still, Bill Norton, Christine Haines, Meg Gilzean, Cor Roest, Anthony Talbot, Joe Gleeson, Anne Hasted, Chris Cobbold, Darren Martel, Barbara Lawrence, John Barr, Julie Hart, Karmagi Derek, Michael Cobbold (USA) and Vanessa Griffith.

The large number of people above, who have volunteered help and/or information in just the first 9 weeks of this year, indicates the substantial interest now being shown in the Trust’s on-line interactive family tree.  We thank them all, and any who we have accidentally omitted. 


‘Adulation or Adulteration? Representing Chemical Dyes in the Victorian Media’ is the latest paper written by Dr. Carolyn Cobbold #644 on the web family tree, who is a Research Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge.  Her research looks at the intersection of science and food production and consumption at the turn of the 19/20th centuries.

This essay describes how the Victorian media reported on the transformation of coal tar into a synthetic palette of colours in the form of aniline and azo dyes. These dyes were the first of many new chemical substances including drugs, perfumes, and flavourings, which chemists began to synthesise and produce on an industrial scale from a waste product of the coal gas industry. Although intended for use in the textile industry, the new dyes soon began to be added to food, becoming one of the first examples of laboratory–created, industrially manufactured chemicals to permeate our daily life in unexpected ways. The essay describes how the initial media portrayal of the dyes as wonders of science became more nuanced as the risks as well as the benefits of the new dyes being used in textiles, and then subsequently in food, became better understood. By examining the media representation of new chemical substances, from their creation in the laboratory to their widespread use in consumer products, sometimes in ways not intended by their creators, my research provides an intriguing case study to add to the growing historiography of how science is represented in the press.


Beaujolois Cavendish née Wodehouse born 7th February 1919 #11005 on the web family tree celebrated her 100th birthday this week. She volunteered as a Wren in the Women’s Royal Naval Service at the age of 23. She spent the war working deep beneath the ground in a huge network of tunnels at the centre of naval operations in Portsmouth.

In her memoirs published in 2012 she described the moment she found out she was to be put in charge of one of the plotting teams. “By the spring of 1944, I had been on the staff of Commander Tim Taylor for 18 months or more and he had seen a good deal of my work. I was thrilled to be trusted with the secret blueprint of the D-Day invasion plans”. “It was only after the war that I learnt that I was one of only nine people in the fort who knew these invasion plans”.

Mrs Cavendish’s family, including two children, six grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren gathered at her care home to hold a ‘low-key’ celebration to mark her milestone. Her daughter, Kate Tyrell said: “It is a remarkable achievement and definitely a cause for celebration. We are all very proud of her.”

The Cobbold Family History Trust agrees wholeheartedly and knowing that she is the last surviving D-Day plotter adds its congratulations and sends very best wishes. Our thanks to Peter Mead and to Metro Newspaper, 7th February 2019.

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