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West Suffolk Force’s fallen honoured a century after their deaths

The unveiling of a plaque remembering three West Suffolk police officers who died during World War One
The unveiling of a plaque remembering three West Suffolk police officers who died during World War One

A plaque in memory of three policemen killed in World War One has been unveiled at Bury St Edmunds Police Station.

It recalls PCs Thomas Reeder, Charles Capon and Frederick New of the former West Suffolk Constabulary who were killed while serving abroad.

A dedication service was led by force chaplain Jeanette Gosney with speakers Chief Constable Gareth Wilson, Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, Supt Kim Warner and Lord Phillips of Sudbury.

Eric Hopes, the force museum curator had realised none of the county’s police memorials listed West Suffolk officers. Colleague John Saunders, a historian and Suffolk National Association of Retired Police Officers chairman, took on the challenge.

John said: “On one of my visits to the Suffolk Records Office at Bury St Edmunds I was researching other matters and going through editions of the newspapers for 1916. There on 1 November was an article of tribute to Thomas Christopher Reeder.”

This made him search the paper and he found a 1919 report that three West Suffolk officers had died in action.

PC Reeder worked in Bury and Sudbury and died on October 12, 1916, as company sergeant major of 7th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment.

PC New worked in Bury and Haverhill and died on August 10, 1917, as acting bombardier in the Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA).

PC Capon worked in Bury, Boxford, Sudbury, Newmarket, Lavenham and Kersey. A gunner in the Siege Battery RGA, he died on April 9, 1918.

Chief Constable Wilson said: “It seems strange that it has taken so long to discover that these officers from the west of the county died in combat but I am extremely grateful that we have been able to do so and provide a small memorial.”

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