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  • Mark Forsdike

A Signal Honour

Today was a day of unique privilege. I was asked to attend at Ipswich town hall with the Ipswich Branch Standard of the Suffolk Regiment Old Comrades Association for the Proclamation of the new King.

The Ipswich Branch Standard is rather unique. It was the first ‘Banner’ to be created for a Branch of the Old Comrades Association in 1950 from a choice of designs proposed by Lieutenant-Colonel Monier Williams, a recently senior officer of 2nd Suffolk.

The design was completed by Mrs Overman, the widow of C.S.M. Francis Overman, who was killed with 1 Suffolk in Le Mesnil wood just after D-Day. Mrs Overman was highly skilled in needlework and had been a teacher in the town's sewing school before the war.

It was the first banner to be carried by any branch of the Old Comrades Association - others began to be carried in the late 1950s, and was present in Ipswich in 1952 at the Proclamation of the new Queen, being carried by ex-private "Kelly" Barnes, a soldier of 4th Suffolk who served during the Great War.

It has been carried on parade ever since by a long line of former Suffolk Regiment soldiers from the Ipswich area and in more recent years by my good friend Taff Gillingham and lately, by myself.

It therefore seemed only right and fitting that today, it was carried again as the first Suffolk Regiment Banner in the reign of the new King.


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