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

Neave, Leonard Jarvis – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk on 18.1.1899.[1]  Parents: William Allen Neave (Saddler and Harness Maker) [see below for his military details] and Emily [née Jarvis].  Home: Saddler’s Shop, Hall Street, Long Melford (1901 and 1911).  Occupation: Bank Clerk [1918].  Service Record: Leonard was conscripted on 18.2.1917 as Pte.534766 with 1/15th [County of London] Battalion [Prince of Wales’s Own Civil Service Rifles], London Regiment and posted to France from 20.3.1918 as part of 140th Brigade, 47th [2nd London] Division.  He was sent immediately to join his unit in the front line at Beaucamp Ridge.  Within hours of his arrival his trench was subjected to an intense bombardment of high explosive and poison gas shells, followed by mass attacks by enemy infantry.  This, the first day of the German Spring Offensive caused a general withdrawal all along the British line, leaving hundreds of casualties in its wake from 15th London alone.  By 5.4.1918 Private Neave’s unit was entrenched at Bouzincourt when the Germans launched another mass assault which continued with barely a pause for two days.  On 22.8.1918 the tide turned for the Battalion when it joined the Battle of Albert, resulting in the capture of several hundred enemy troops.  The first day of September saw it in another big push against trenches on the Rancourt to Péronne road, near the village of Bouchavesnes-Bergen.  These positions were taken with little resistance by the Civil Service Rifles, capturing hundreds of men and materiel.  The following morning the Battalion was given the task of ‘mopping up’ any other enemy troops in Moislains Trench.  A detachment of Leonard’s battalion was caught in a counterattack near this trench, leaving 25 men dead.[2]  Died: Leonard was listed as missing presumed killed in action at Moislains on 2.9.1918 and is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial [panel 10], Pas-de-Calais, France, and the Long Melford War Memorial.[3]

Neave, William Allen – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk in 1869.  Parents: Thomas Neave (Harness Maker) and Elizabeth [latterly a cab company proprietor] [née Allen].  Family Connections: Father of Leonard Jarvis Neave [b1899].  Home: Saddler’s Shop, Hall Street, Long Melford (1871) to [1925].[4]  Occupation: Harness Maker (1891), Saddler and Job Master (1901) to [1916], Insurance Agent [1925].  Married: Emily Jarvis [d1926] in 1895.  Service Record: William was a member of the Long Melford Volunteer Training Corps from 1915.[5]  In September 1918 he was called for service from the Army Reserve prompting him to apply to the Melford Military Service Tribunal for exemption, which was granted for six months.  Something may have happened in the interim as a month later the Volunteer Force applied on his behalf for exemption.  This was granted without time limit or conditions.[6]  William Neave was a member of the Long Melford War Memorial Committee when it was formed at the end of February 1919 and a member of both the Parish Council and the Melford Rural District Council in the 1920s.  Died: Denmark Hill, London on 16.6.1926.[7]

Notes – [1] Date of birth from de Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-18 Vol. V, p.130. [2] For details of the 15th London’s movements see War Diary [TNA – WO 95/2732/1].  See also Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329] and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372].  [3] Commonwealth War Graves Commission record and British Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 file [ref: 786020].  [4] Occupation and address taken from Kelly’s Directory for Suffolk 1916 and 1925.  [5] For Training Corps article see Suffolk and Essex Free Press 10.3.1915. [6] For the Tribunal’s rulings see SEFP 4.9.1918 and 9.10.1918. [7] Date of death from the National Probate Calendar.

The Saddler’s and Harness Maker’s Shop at the Posting House in Hall Street, Long Melford

Harness-making had been long established in the Neave family, records showing that William Neave of Cavendish [1793-1866] had a workshop in Glemsford from as early as 1841.  His four sons, all of born in Long Melford, all became harness-makers: John [1823-1862], Ezra [1826-1889], and William [1839-1904] relocating to London, with Thomas [1829-1879] continuing the business locally.  In addition to Glemsford, Neave had established businesses along the Suffolk stretch of the Stour valley at Clare, Cavendish and Long Melford, with the latter village becoming the base of operations from the 1850s.  Following the death of Thomas Neave in 1879 the business continued under the management of his widow Elizabeth, trading as E. Neave and Sons, with Frederick Thomas Neave [1864-1903] as harness-maker, and William Allen Neave [1869-1926] as saddler and job-master.  Probably occassioned by the death of Frederick Neave in 1903, William Purdy, who may already have been an employee, moved from Cavendish to Long Melford, taking up residence at The Posting House and becoming a partner with William Allen Neave the surviving son, under the new business name of W. J. Purdy & Neave.[1] 

Notes – [1] Purdy’s daughter Bessie was born in Long Melford in 1905 and the family is recorded as resident on the 1911 Census.

The Shop in the 1890s
The Shop around the time of the Great War
William James Purdy with three full sets of draughthorse harness in the 1920s

Genealogical Tables

Research by David Gevaux MA © 2024
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