EDitorial ± 4-Aug-2010

Frank Walter Talbot RIP

A few bits and bobs that come to mind when thinking of Mr F.W.Talbot, my Grandad, whose funeral we attended on Wednesday 4th August:

  • that finger trick -- was he really pulling the top off his thumb?
  • Town & Country -- during the inevitable olde-fashioned party games at Christmas, he would cheat terribly while playing Town & Country, claiming, for example, that Asia was a country beginning with "A"
  • 1980s European Cup Finals -- me and big brother cycled up to Hatfield Road to watch the footy with him
  • 10p pieces -- mercenary highlight of Christmas was receiving a sizeable stack of shiny silver coins
  • Walnut Whips -- and we always gave him these in return: wouldn't be surprised if he'd once mentioned in passing that he quite liked Walnut Whips, only to then get them as gifts forever after

For posterity, here's a brief biography from his order of service as written by his three children:

Dad was born in Anness Yard in Ipswich in 1917, later moving to Austin Street, both places being known as "over Stoke". His mother having been a former Salvation Army officer, he was sent to Sunday school at the Citadel in Tacket Street with his brother Fred, his other brother Maurice having had polio as a child and could not get there.

Dad joined the YP Band and later at 16 became a Senior Bandsman. He was also Singing Company Leader when he was 19.

Dad had a varied working life - he became a policeman in 1938 and was stationed in Grays in Essex initially, later being called up by the Government, and being sent to the Suffolk Regiment Gibraltar Barracks in Bury St Edmunds. Then it was off to Africa where he helped train the King’s African Rifle Brigade. He did say that the uniform he wore was washed with so much starch he dare not turn his head too quickly in case he cut his throat! One Christmas morning while he was there, he saw people on the march and spied the Salvation Army flag at the head of it; they had come from a village some way away and strange and various instruments were being played. After this he was a Camp Labour Officer at a German prisoner of war camp at Debach, until the Germans were repatriated.

He then worked for Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council, but while waiting for the first job he was a mortuary assistant for one week only, as the pathologist was asking for things to be done that he could not face!

Other short occupations were raking over the ashes at the Speedway circuit after the races, and being an ice-cream seller on a bike to earn some money.

He was the Treasurer of Cancer Research locally for some years, became the President of the Ipswich Co-operative Society as it was then, and also with Mum took on the job of Divisional Envoys with the Army, covering several corps in the area and taking meetings. He always provided for, and took an interest in, his family and we will all miss him.

Margaret, Jean and Peter.

A full life. RIP, Frank.