Dudley Frederick Crane
4th Battalion Suffolk Regiment
Dudley Crane was born at Cockfield Lodge, Yoxford. One of five sons, at the age of 14 years, he went to work in the gardens of Rookery Park, Yoxford, the home of Sir Guy & Lady Hambling. He learned his many gardening skills under the severe Head Gardener, John Turner. Dudley was always a happy pupil and was regularly told off for whistling at his work by Mr Turner, who did not approve of such a display of pleasure at work.
Dudley joined the Territorial Army before the second world war and when war broke out, he was first posted to Hereford to work on the land but shortly afterwards he and his brother Jack Crane were posted to Singapore with the 4lh Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, where they were both captured by the Japanese. Despite his treatment at the hands of his captors, Dudley never harboured any bitterness and refused to let it spoil the rest of his life. While a POW, Dudley learnt a new skill when he became friendly with another prisoner who had been a Chef in civilian life and this man taught Dudley the art of good cooking, a skill which Dudley was only able to practice properly when he was finally repatriated.
On his return to Suffolk, Dudley married his fiancée, Hazel "Poppy' Smith, a Darsham girl, who had worked at Rookery Park as a house maid before the war and as a Land Army girl during the war. Dudley started work at Simpson Seed Merchants at Darsham, where he remained until he retired.
He was a great supporter of the British Legion and a member of the Far East Prisoner of War Association and went to all the reunions that he could.
Dudley gave unstintingly of his time and effort to the village of Darsham. He was a founder member of the Darsham Horticultural Society and served, as a very active member, of the Village Hall Management Committee. A strong, faithful member of the Church, one had only to ask for help and it was there.
Dudley died in October 1992, aged 74 years and Hazel died in 2000, aged 70 years. Dudley and Hazel had no children.