On Radio 4 last month Hugh Dennis (actor and comedian) presented his journey to Gallipoli following in the footsteps of his great uncle, Private Frank Hinnels. One hundred years ago on 17th October 1915 Frank lost his life at Gallipoli fighting with the 5th Battalion Suffolk Regiment. He was the younger brother of Godfrey Parkes Hinnels, Hugh’s grandfather.
Pat Abel of Deeping St James, who has long been a member of Deepings Heritage, was listening to the programme. The name Hinnels rang a bell. She remembered that her in-laws, Mr and Mrs Walter Abel, lived at 13 Crown Street, Bury St Edmunds next door to two Miss Hinnels.
Our research in the 1881 and 1911 censuses confirms that they were Esther Ellen and Alice Maria Hinnels, the aunts of Godfrey and Frank. Kelly’s Directory for 1929 lists Miss AM Hinnels at 14 Crown Street and she was still there in 1937.
What is most extraordinary is that Pat still has in her possession a pierrot match box holder given to her by the Hinnels sisters!
The figure was modelled around a matchbox and it is a well-preserved example of those made by the sisters during the First World War. They were sold in the Athenaum, the Assembly Rooms in Bury St Edmunds, to raise funds for the troops.
The matchbox is covered in black grosgrain ribbon, the ruffle is white satin and he has three pearl buttons. His head, hands and feet are celluloid.
….By the way, the matches are still in the box.