The MOLEs’ of Framlingham – an unexpected WW2 connection

When in Framlingham during the recent Heritage Open Day I took part in the tour of the town’s cemetery led by John Bridges and as always took a few photos of any graves that caught my eye.

One of these graves was for Walter MOLE who died on 24th February 1956, Annie MOLE who died on 15th April 1959 and Nancy Ismy who died on 26th April 1986.

MOLE Grave

Being quite an unusual surname I decided to investigate further to see if this was a family that had lived in the town for many years or who had moved there in more recent times.

I started by looking at the 1911 census and found Walter James MOLE aged 43 living with his wife Annie aged 41 and three children Gwendoline Rosalie aged 14, Colin Frostick aged 8 and Nancy Ismy aged 7 months. The family were living at Albert Road in Framlingham and George’s occupation was an Insurance Superintendent for Prudential.

MOLE 1911 census

Source Citation Ancestry: Class: RG14; Piece: 10911; Schedule Number: 29

George was born in West Mersea in Essex and Annie in Great Barford in Bedfordshire and they had been married for 16 years in 1911 – further research found that George MOLE and Annie TATMAN married in the April quarter of 1895 in Great Barford.

The 1901 census shows them living in Bures St Mary, so they must have moved to Framlingham after that time.

MOLE 1901 census

Source Citation Ancestry: Class: RG13; Piece: 1742; Folio: 52; Page: 5

I then looked in the Framlingham Weekly News records online and found several mentions of this MOLE family, including mention of Mr Colin MOLE being appointed organist and choirmaster in Wickham Market dated 11th July 1925.

FWN 11 7 1925

And also a wedding report from 14th April 1934, in Wickham Market, which mentioned a Colin MOLE from Framlingham presiding at the organ – did he ever play the organ in Framlingham church I wonder?

FWN 14 4 1934

I then decided to research Colin further and sadly found that Aircraftman Colin Frostick MOLE 1626905 of the Royal Air Force Reserve died on 31st August 1942 and is Remembered with Honour at Ippollitts (St Ippolyt) New Churchyard in Hertfordshire.

CWGC Colin Frostick MOLE

Colin attended Framlingham College between 1914 and 1918 and is remembered on the memorial to those Old Framlinghamians who lost their lives in World War 2, which is on the west wall of the College Chapel.

WW2Memorial  The College Framlingham

Colin had married Gwendoline Mabel BARNES in the July quarter of 1932, had three children Phillip, Mary and Sheila and settled in Hertfordshire.

However I was still intrigued by his middle name FROSTICK and have found that this was his paternal Grandmother Hannah’s maiden name and discovered that his MOLE ancestors have a long history associated with West Mersea in Essex.

MOLE and FROSTICK Marriage   George and Hannah Mole

George and Hannah MOLE (nee FROSTICK)

(Many thanks to Ancestry tree members for the use of this document and photo)

I now plan to try and discover more about Colin’s war service and how he died in World War 2 and will keep you updated with any developments.

Simon Last   

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From a Friend at Framlingham – In GLAD REMEMBRANCE we call to mind our friends

One of the postcards of Framlingham I have recently acquired for my collection is entitled:

From A Friend at Framlingham – IN GLAD Remembrance we call to mind our FRIENDS. (Tennyson)

From a Friend at Framlingham  From a Friend at Framlingham reverse

It is dated 22nd January 1917 and addressed to:

Ordinary Seaman W.W.BALDWIN

Mess 1

H.M.S Beaver

C/o G.P.O


And the message is from London House in Framlingham

Kindest Regards & Best Wishes from G PETTITT

With the WW1 connection I wondered if I could discover anything else about the mysyerious W.W.BALDWIN and discovered his name in the Royal Navy Register of Seaman’s Services.

William Walter BALDWIN Naval Record

Ancestry: The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 760

His full name is William Walter BALDWIN and he was born on the 9th August 1894 in Framlingham in Suffolk and he first served with the Royal Navy on 16th August 1916 on the ship Pembroke 1 and his last service date is given as May 1919 on the Ship Greenwich.

This record shows all the Ships he served on, including H.M.S Beaver which is mentioned on the postcard in January 1917.

In 1917 H.M.S Beaver was an Acheron-class destroyer of the Royal Navy that served during the First World War and was sold for breaking in 1921. She was the ninth Royal Navy ship to be named Beaver.

She was ordered under the 1910-11 shipbuilding programme from Parsons, with construction subcontracted to William Denny & Brothers of Dumbarton. Beaver was laid down on 18th October 1910, was launched on 6th October 1911 and commissioned in November 1912. She and her sister-ship Badger were completed with geared steam turbines for evaluation purposes and were known as “Parsons Specials”.

Beaver served with the First Destroyer Flotilla from 1911. She was stranded at Great Yarmouth in December 1912, but was not badly damaged. With her flotilla, she joined the British Grand Fleet in 1914 on the outbreak of the First World War.

She was present on 28th August 1914 at the Battle of Heligoland Bight, detached from the First Destroyer Flotilla along with Jackal, Badger and Sandfly. She shared in the prize money for the engagement.

During the War, the Canadian John Moreau Grant (later the first commanding officer of HMCS Royal Roads) served in Beaver, eventually becoming her first lieutenant. Beaver was employed in patrolling the English Channel as far as the Hook of Holland, and escorted hospital ships to and from France. Grant’s oral testimony reports an action against an unknown submarine during this period.


I have then found that William Walter BALDWIN married Ada G RICHES in the January quarter of 1922 in the Hartismere Registration District in Suffolk and they had at least three children Gordon W BALDWIN in 1922, Charlotte E BALDWIN in 1924 and John W C BALDWIN in 1936.

I now plan to track William in the 1901 and 1911 census records to discover more about his parents and siblings and possibly to track down G PETTITT, so I will keep you all updated with what I find.

Simon Last

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Another Parham postcard mystery solved!

As regular readers of this blog will know I love solving a postcard mystery and researching the names and addresses on the back of old cards and where possible reuniting them with family members.

One of my collections of old postcards is of the village of Parham in Suffolk, which I am researching as a One Place Study and recently whilst sorting these cards I became intrigued by a card sent to a Mr R Choyce at Box 31, Station Post Office, Shalford, Ontario in Canada in September 1907.

Parham postcard CHOYCE Parham postcard CHOYCE reverse

The front of postcard is a collection of pictures of Parham and has the following message on the back:

Dear Reg

I have come here today with Ma & Pa to see Granma; she is a little better and sends her kind love to you. It is a lovely day. When are you coming home, cannot you bring your little brother home with you? George has just sailed, he is on the Suffolk, be back home in January – hope you are quite well.

From E D

I was therefore interested to find out who the Granma of R Choyce living in Parham in 1907 might be and what connection there may be to my study of families in the village.

I discovered Reginald Choyce on the 1891 census aged 7 living with his parents Walter and Julia in West Ham London and from this found Reginald was born on 2nd November 1883 in Barrow in Furness in Lancashire.

1891 Census CHOYCE Family

Ancestry: Class: RG12; Piece: 1314; Folio: 123; Page: 64; GSU roll: 6096424

Walter Yeates Choyce and Julia Hollingsworth married on 8th October 1879 in the Borough of Tower Hamlets in London and their marriage certificate shows their fathers names as Robinson Thomas Choyce and Charles Hollingsworth – still no link to Parham in Suffolk!

CHOYCE Marriage 1851

Ancestry: London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Stephen, Tredegar Road, Register of marriages, P88/STE2, Item 014

On further investigation I found out that Julia Hollingsworth was born on 31st August 1862 and was baptised on 5th October 1862, showing her parents as Charles and Mary Ann Hollingsworth.

Julia Hollingsworth Baptism

Ancestry: London Metropolitan Archives, Queen Square St George the Martyr, Register of Baptism, p82/geo2, Item 006

The 1861 census shows a Charles and Mary Ann Hollingsworth living in St Pancras in London and Mary’s place of birth is given as Hacheston in Suffolk, the next village to Parham.

1861 Census Hollingsworth

Ancestry: Class: RG 9; Piece: 100; Folio: 55; Page: 31; GSU roll: 542573

Searching the online marriage registers I found that Charles Hollingsworth married Mary Ann Titshall in the April quarter of 1851 in St Giles in London – this now confirmed my link to Parham, as Titshall is a family name from the village.

Mary Ann Titshall wedding

Ancestry: England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index, 1837-1915

Mary Ann Titshall was the daughter of Richard and Margaret Titshall (nee Frost) and her grandparents were Richard and Sarah Titshall (nee Fairweather), who were all associated with the villages of Parham and Hacheston in Suffolk.

Name Mary Ann Titshall
Gender Female
Christening Date 2 Nov 1828
Christening Place Hacheston, Suffolk, England
Father’s Name Richard Titshall
Mother’s Name Margaret Frost

Ancestry: Place: Hacheston, Suffolk, England; Collection: ; BTs; Date Range: 1828 – 1831; Film Number: 918512

Name Richard Titshall
Gender Male
Christening Date 29 Nov 1789
Christening Place Hacheston, Suffolk, England
Father’s Name Richard Titshall
Mother’s Name Sarah Fairweather

Ancestry: Place: Hacheston, Suffolk, England; Collection: ; BTs; Date Range: 1682 – 1812; Film Number: 919577

This means that in 1907 Mary Ann Hollingsworth (nee Titshall) was back living in Parham when the postcard was sent to Reginald Choyce in Canada and she was the Granma mentioned in the message.

The message on the postcard in September 1907 mentioned that Granma was feeling better, so she had obviously been quite ill and I have now found out that Mary Ann Hollingsworth died on the 15th January 1908 aged 80.

I then wondered when Reginald would have heard this news and if he possibly came back to England for her funeral and I have found a ships passenger list showing him returning to Canada via Portland in Maine from Liverpool and arriving on 23rd March 1908 on board the ship Dominion.

Canada 1908

Ancestry: U.S., Atlantic Ports Passenger Lists, 1820-1873 and 1893-1959

Did Reginald stay in Canada?

Well I have found that he married Blanche Tucker (who originated from Forest Gate, Essex, England) on 5th November 1914.

Canada marriage

Ancestry: Archives of Ontario; Series: MS932; Reel: 318

The 1921 Canada census shows Reginald Choyce aged 36 living with his wife Blanche aged 32 and a son called Reginald aged 5 in Toronto Ontario, where he was working as a machinist.

1921 census

Ancestry: Reference Number: RG 31; Folder Number: 103; Census Place: Toronto (City, part), York West, Ontario; Page Number: 8

I will now investigate further to see if I can find any information about Reginald Choyce junior and a connection to the family who may be interested in a copy of this old family postcard.

A pleasing result so far and another Parham postcard mystery solved!


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Letter from a Framlingham Soldier in Gallipoli

Now that the old Framlingham Weekly News newspapers are available to view online I have been spending more time researching the papers from the World War 1 period in more detail.

The paper often featured letters in a column called “War Notes” and I have recently found this letter in the 2nd October 1915 issue sent home to Framlingham:

Framlingham Soldier in Gallipoli

Gallipoli Sept. 5th 1915 – The Trenches

Dear Sirs,

It will interest several of my friends in Framlingham and also some of my old chums of “G” Co. in France, to know that I am with my Battalion on this Peninsular. I know your “Weekly News” is sent to our boys in France and as you have so kindly offered to publish “War Notes” I should be glad if through your columns you would convey my heartiest best wishes to my old chums and I trust that Tom Bonney, Sam Thompson and all are well.

It is impossible for me to write to them individually, that is why I am appealing to your generosity. We have a very difficult task before us here. We were in a heavy engagement a very few hours after landing, but we are very cheerful. Thanking you in anticipation and with very best wishes to your good selves.

I remain

Yours very respectfully

Walter Creasey (Sergt) – No. 3449 B Company

2/4 Queen’s R.W. Surrey Regiment – British Med. Exp. Force

Framlingham Weekly News Saturday 2nd October 1915

Even in the conditions our local lads were coping with during this war, thoughts of Framlingham and their friends were never far away.

Simon Last      

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WW1 Postcard Research – Nathaniel Thomas ROPER

I have recently bought a group of WW1 postcards on EBay and as always when they arrive I am just as intrigued by the names and addresses on the back, as much as the pictures or photos on the front – someone recently said in a comment on Twitter ‘Just one postcard keeps Simon Last out of mischief!’ – how right they are!

Several of these WW1 postcards were sent to a Mr and Mrs John BAKER from their son Jack, so I am now investigating to see if he survived the war or to try and find out any other information I can about his family.

Postcard 1 Postcard 1 reverse

Postcard 2   Postcard 3

Amongst the postcards was also a photo postcard of the WW1 grave of T ROPER who died on 1st May 1917 in Salonika – I have found his Commonwealth War Graves Commission Certificate which shows his service number as 16124 and that he was part of the 11th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment.

His full name was Nathaniel Thomas ROPER and he died on 1st May 1917 aged 20 – he was the son of Henry and Ellen ROPER of 103 Upper Green Lane, Birchills, Walsall,Staffordshire and he was a native of Kingswinford, Dudley in Worcestershire.

He is Remembered with Honour at Sarigol Military Cemetery in Kriston.

Postcard 4

I have also found him and his family on the 1911 census where Nathaniel and his father Henry’s occupations are shown as Carriage and Wagon Drivers – he also has a sister called Elsie aged 10.

His mother’s full name is Ellen Elizabeth and it states that Henry and Ellen ROPER had had 7 children, 6 of whom were still living.

1911 Census

More investigation is needed into the family of Nathaniel Thomas ROPER, but I have already managed to locate his name in four family trees on Ancestry and have sent them all a message asking if they would like a copy of this postcard for their family records and history – I hope someone replies as I would be delighted if I was contacted about a link to my own family tree.

I will keep you updated!


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Floods in Framlingham!

I have recently found this old postcard of the floods in Framlingham taken by John Self outside Bonney’s Bakery at the bottom of Fore Street – it was a while before I noticed the two gentlemen standing on the wall outside the cottage!

Framlingham Flood 1905

I was intrigued to see if I could find any information or reports about floods in Framlingham over the years in the local newspapers and although I believe the postcard photograph was taken in 1905, I found an interesting report from the Framlingham Weekly News of Saturday 26th August 1865.

Framlingham Weekly News 26 8 1865

A Flood! Such was the heavy fall of rain on Wednesday night and Thursday morning last, that the Mere was completely flooded and presented such a sight as rarely seen in winter!

The road at Saxtead Bottoms was quite impassable to pedestrians for several hours. This unfavourable weather will render most of the cut barley useless for anything but feeding purposes on the farm; and what wheat has not been got under cover, which we are sorry to find is not by any means a small quantity, will be almost, if not entirely spoiled.

Such a circumstance in the midst of harvest operations is not remembered by the oldest inhabitant of Framlingham. What, with high priced meat and the prospect of a dear soft loaf, will the poor husbandmen do with their largesses? We trust they will see the propriety of putting it by on account of these rainy days.

In August 1865 this amount of rain during the summer months seems to have been such a rarity – how times have changed!

Simon Last

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Bloomville Hall Hacheston Suffolk – Postcard Research

A few months ago I bought a postcard listed as being from Hacheston in Suffolk, which had Bloomville Hall Hacheston written on the front.

Bloomville Hall Hacheston  Bloomville Hall Hacheston reverse

After searching the British Newspaper Archive website using this name I have been able to find various death and marriage notices, which mention Bloomville Hall in Hacheston and give an insight into the families that have lived there over the years.

Firstly I found the marriage on 6th May 1851 between Thomas ROSE and Harriet Anne HANBURY widow of Edward HANBURY Esq. of Bloomville Hall and sixth daughter of John COBBOLD Esq,

10 May 1851 Ipswich Journal

Ipswich Journal -Saturday 10th May 1851

Next I found an entry dated 2nd May 1873 announcing the death of Mary BARTHROPP in her 82nd year the only daughter of Nathaniel BARTHROPP of Bloomville Hall

6 May 1873 Ipswich Journal

Ipswich Journal – Tuesday 6th May 1873

From 6th May 1873 I found the death notice for William Woodger THURLOW the dearly beloved son of Thomas William and Amy THURLOW of Bloomville Hall aged 7 months and 13 days

11 September 1880 Ipswich Journal

Ipswich Journal – Saturday 11th September 1880

Finally I found a death from 23rd December 1900 for Thomas William THURLOW formerly of Bloomville Hall Hacheston aged 56 years

 29 December 1900 Ipswich Journal

Ipswich Journal – Saturday 29th December 1900

My next job is to check out all the census documents relating to Hacheston and Bloomville Hall, but these newspaper announcements have given me some really interesting names as a starting point.

I will keep you updated on developments and any new discoveries!

Simon Last

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