Quite a few people will remember Bob Moyes, often seen walking around the Village in his hi-vis jacket listening to his classical music through his earphones. Some may even remember his dog-walking days.
However, those sightings have been absent for a few months as Bob, following a long spell of ill-health, is now resident in the Depperhaugh Nursing Home in Hoxne.
He came to the Village in 1940 at the age of 14 and lived in one of the cottages which stood beside the old Methodist Chapel in Mill Street (complete with its earthen floors!)
Not long after arriving, Bob had to start work. One job he had was as “Chainman” to the surveyor plotting out the Eye Airfield soon to be taken over by the USAAF and their B17’s. Following this he worked for a gang of men laying concrete on another airfield. This time at Horham, again taken over by the USAAF and yet more B17’s.
During this time, Bob had joined the Air Cadets in Eye and, with one of his pals, was not unknown to “con” the American Aircrews into giving them a ride in their B17 Flying Fortresses! On one such trip, supposedly just for a test flight, Bob was a bit concerned to see the East Coast disappearing under them and was relieved when the pilot eventually turned for home just short of the Belgium coast!
Then the inevitable call-up came and Bob was drafted into the Royal Corps of Signals. Three and a half years later came his “demob” but not before a sea journey from Greece to the South of France and then a long train journey from there, eventually to England and home to Gislingham.
Peacetime saw Bob working on “the Middy” – the Mid-Suffolk light Railway running from Haughley to Laxfield. His work involved track maintenance and occasional portering.
But Bob missed life in the Services and rectified this by successfully applying to and spending his next 6+ years in the Australian Army. For much of this time he was in the Far East and Japan.
Home once again, life working on a local farm couldn’t keep him pegged down and he then applied to and was accepted by the RAF for the next 11+ years. In all, Bob served a combined total of 22 years in uniform.
Now firmly in Civvy Street, he worked for a short while at a Foundry in Diss but this was too closed-in for him and he then worked as an Assistant Tax Collector until his early retirement at the age of 55yrs.
Bob now looked for some interest more locally and he then served on the Gislingham Parish Council until his retirement as Clerk some 30 years later! As well as this, he took on the job of Clerk to the Gislingham United Charities, again serving for 30 years.
For this service, Bob was made the Village’s first (and currently, only) Honorary Freeman of Gislingham. When presented, Bob with a chuckle, asked whether or not this entitled him to drive his geese unhindered through the High Street. The Parish Chairperson was rather unsure!
Even in his 80’s he was still active and took a prominent part in the Parish hedge survey. This involved walking almost every hedge boundary within the Parish and recording the various species within it as part of a County- wide survey. Over 400 hedges later, up and down banks, across ditches, Bob was still going right to the very end.
Tireless in everything he undertook!
So Happy 90th Birthday, Bob, and Many Happy Returns of the Day!
Footnote: anybody wishing to send a card to Bob is welcome to drop it into our postbox at Piglet Corner, High Street (corner of West View gardens)