Colonel Godfrey's Family Has Three Generations of Army and…

Colonel Godfrey's Family Has Three Generations of Army and Cadet Service

10 February 2021

  • Cambridgeshire ACF

The Army Cadet Force is proud of its role in Remembrance, helping to represent the army, and celebrating our, often shared, military heritage. Our interlinked history with the army is exemplified by the Godfrey family from Cambridgeshire; Colonel Marc Godfrey (Colonel Cadets East Anglia) is one of three generations of army and ACF officers in his family who have served with distinction. Major FA Godfrey was a young Second Lieutenant when he was awarded the Military Cross in Malaya in 1951.

Colonel Godfrey’s grandfather, Arthur Hayward Godfrey served as an officer in both world wars. He was commissioned into the Territorial Force in 1915 and served in WWI in 5th Bn (TF), The Suffolk Regiment, throughout the Palestine Campaign. He was mentioned in General Allenby’s despatches (for gallant and distinguished services) in 1919.

Arthur Godfrey as a young officer in WW1, and right, dressed for service in Palestine.

At the start of The Second World War he, like many, volunteered for the army but was too old for infantry service so received a commission in the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps. Immediately posted to France with the British Expeditionary Force he was ultimately evacuated from St Nazaire after the German invasion. He later helped to clear bombing damage in London. His final wartime job was as Adjt/QM of 2nd Isle of Ely Home Guard Bn based in Ely Drill Hall. After the war he joined the Army Cadet Force in Cambridgeshire, and became CO of 2nd Isle of Ely Cadet Bn.

Arthur Godfrey's First and Second World War Medals. The oak leaf on the Victory Medal ribbon signifies a mention in despatches.

Arthur Godfrey's son (and Colonel Marc Godfrey’s father) was Major F.A. Godfrey, MC, BA. He was born in Wisbech and started his military career as a cadet at Ely before being commissioned into The Suffolk Regiment from Sandhurst in 1949. Soon afterwards he was sent by troopship to Southeast Asia during the Malayan Emergency as part of the force deployed to protect British interests. Attacks on rubber planters and damage to government and military property saw the pro-independence fighters (known as ‘bandits’ to the British) become a major concern and, ultimately, to see the conflict declared a major insurgency. In 1951 he was awarded the Military Cross; his citation noted his ‘fearless leadership under fire, his relentless determination under difficult conditions and his immediate and relentless follow up of any sign of bandit activity, often leaving behind the normal equipment for personal comfort in order to get contact quickly at all costs and inflict casualties’.

A young Lieutenant FA Godfrey (centre with map) during his service in Malaya, c.1951.

He completed several tours in Malaya and in 1964 (due to amalgamation) he became part of 4th Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment. He went on to serve in Malta, Libya and Aden. He learned to speak Russian and completed two tours with BRIXMIS (British Mission to the Soviet Army in Berlin and East Germany). He then taught as a senior lecturer at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, wrote the ‘final chapter’ histories of both the Suffolk Regiment and Royal Norfolk Regiment and undertook research for the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum.

Memorabilia belonging to FA Godfrey including cap badges for Sandhurst and The Suffolk Regiment, I.D. disks and insignia for service in Malaya.

Colonel Cadets East Anglia, Marc Godfrey began as a cadet in 1975 which was followed by a spell with the University Officer Training Corps in Wales. On graduating, he enlisted with 6 (V) Bn Royal Anglian Regiment in Bury St Edmunds. Commissioned in 1981, he was then appointed as Platoon Commander in Norwich.

Colonel Godfrey became a teacher of politics in 1985 and transferred to the Combined Cadet Force at Framlingham College. He subsequently served for 19 years as Contingent Commander of the Royal Hospital School CCF in Suffolk. Here he sought to provide high quality training and ample opportunities for personal development and leadership for cadets and CFAVs alike.

Colonel Marc Godfrey, Colonel Cadets East Anglia.

Now serving as Colonel Cadets for East Anglia, his role is to support and advise the Brigade Commander on the direction and supervision of both ACF and CCF activities, and work to continuously improve the quality of the cadet experience.

Colonel Godfrey said: “It is an honour and a privilege to have such a long family association with the cadet world in East Anglia. It was only when I learnt more about Cambridgeshire ACF that I was reminded that both my grandfather and my father had such strong links with The Isle of Ely ACF and that, both joined The Suffolk Regiment. There is no doubt in my mind that my father's exciting military career was prompted in part by what he experienced as a cadet. I can only hope that my time in the cadets has, in some small way, encouraged young people to embark on a fulfilling military career.”

Text by PI Doug Stuart with Colonel Godfrey