A village with a big story
Little Holland cottages at top of Green no longer there
Claypits Pond with Horses 1905
Long Melford Coronation fancy dress competition at the British Legion in Cordell road1953
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Selected Biographies

Downey, Richard John – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk on 19.11.1883.  Parents: James Downey (Flax Dresser) and Anne Maria [née Murray].  Family Connections: Cousin of William Langham Downey [b1896].  Home: Field Side, Crowle, Lincolnshire (1891), 7 Crowland Road, Haverhill, Suffolk (1901), 17 Riverside Road, Ipswich, Suffolk (1911).  Occupation: Horsehair Weaver (1901), Spindle Hand (1911).  Married: Grace May Whitaker in 1906.  Service Record: Attested as Pte.G/71820 with 19th [Service] Battalion, Duke of Cambridge’s Own [Middlesex] Regiment [2nd Public Works Pioneers], Richard was posted to France as part of 41st Division.  Died: He was killed in action on 25.3.1918 at the First Battle of Bapaume during the German Spring Offensive and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial [bay 7], Faubourg d’Amiens British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France, and on the Ipswich War Memorial in Suffolk.[1]

Downey, William Langham – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk on 7.5.1896.  Parents: Rose Florence Downey (Horsehair Weaver) [married Alfred Woodgate in 1895].  Family Connections: Cousin of Richard John Downey [b1883].  Home: Swan Lane, Long Melford (1901), Girling Villa, Girling Street, Sudbury, Suffolk (1911), Gladwin Villas, Suffolk Road, Sudbury [1915], The Vernons, Suffolk Road, Sudbury [1917], 34 Valentine Way, Silver End, Essex (1939).  Occupation: Porter [1915], Polisher of Metal Window Fittings (1939).  Married: Kathleen Harriett Reynolds in 1917.  Service Record: William attested on 29.6.1915 as Able Seaman No. Z/2443 in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.  On 25.10.1915 he was posted to Egypt with 7th [Hood] Battalion, 63rd [Royal Naval] Division, transferring on 25.9.1916 to 8th [Anson] Battalion, as part of 188th Brigade, 63rd [RN] Division with the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front.  He saw action at the Battle of Ancre in November 1916, the last battle of the Somme Offensive, and was issued with a Silver War Badge and discharged due to epilepsy on 27.5.1917.  His health issues notwithstanding, William Downey re-enlisted in May 1919 as Pte.696627 in ‘H’ Company, London District Labour Corps [recorded as William Lauraine Downey], receiving his discharge in the following October as being ‘no longer physically fit’ for military service.  Died: Braintree, Essex in 1975.[2]

Notes – [1] Date of birth from the Baptism Register 3.2.1884, Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford.  For details of 19th Middlesex’s movements see War Diary [WO 95/2627/3-4].  See also his Commonwealth War Graves Commission record, British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 file [ref: 764614], Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329] and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372].  [2] Date of birth from his Royal Naval Division: Records of Service [ADM 339/1/10664].  Other extant documents record an array of dates: the Admission Register 12.3.1900, St Catherines Infants School, Long Melford records date of birth as 22.12.1896, whereas the 1939 Register for Witham in Essex records the date as 7.5.1894; and to add even more confusion the date recorded on the Death Index is 7.5.1897, where he is also recorded as William Lorraine [sic] Downey.  Rose Downey is recorded as lodging with Thomas Langham in 1901 and as the wife of Thomas Downey in 1911; these men would appear to be the same person.  There is, however, no record of a formal marriage, although a marriage did take place in 1895 to Alfred Woodgate.  He is also recorded as William Langham Woodgate on the UK Census for 1901.  For details of Anson Battalion’s movements see War Diary [WO 95/3111/1].  See also his Soldiers’ Documents, First World War ‘Burnt Documents’ [WO 363], Service Medal and Award Rolls, First World War, Silver War Badge [WO 329] and Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329].

Research by David Gevaux MA © 2022

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