Ambos fear ghost of old chief
THE GHOST of WC Tomkins used to haunt the old Ipswich ambulance station in North Ipswich.
But it remains to be seen whether the former superintendent will haunt the station at its new premises in Garden St.
Renowned haunted historian Jack Sim interviewed several long-term Ipswich ambulance officers for his book called Haunted Ipswich and they confirmed the presence of the ghost.
Mr Sim lives up to his reputation. When the QT asked him to spell his surname he said: "Sim. That's S-I... and M as in morbid."
So who is this ghost?
"Mr Tomkins was an old superintendent who dropped dead in 1934 in his upstairs residence inside the building. He founded the Ipswich City Ambulance Transport Brigade in 1901 and he lived on site," Mr Sim said.
"Ipswich ambos told me about a ghost that rattled blinds and moved from floor to floor. He is not a bad ghost but he still gives people the creeps.
"A few of them spoke of seeing the ghost and others of feeling like they were being watched and followed. These are ambos who attend some horrible accident scenes, but some of them said they wouldn't go upstairs at night. But this ghost has never hurt anyone and I don't think he would. He founded the ambulance in Ipswich and he is a nice bloke.
"Everyone I spoke to that works there said they just feel like it is Mr Tomkins following people around and keeping an eye on things."
One Ipswich ambulance officer spoke to the QT about the ghost.
"Several ambulance officers say they saw him and were frightened by him although I personally never saw him," he said.
"The building used to be three storeys and you'd have to climb up these old stairs. But I know they used to go up there at night and feel his presence.
"He used to get seen in the hallway down near some old meeting rooms that had some old furniture from back in the 1900s.
"His photo was on the wall nearby and that is where he was often seen. He never did any harm but some officers felt uncomfortable in his presence."
Mr Tomkins' ghost has not been sighted at the new ambulance station, but that may change.
"His photo has been brought to the new station but we are waiting for the museum to be built so we can put it up," the officer said.
"So he hasn't been seen at our new station, but he might when his photo goes up."
The officer said the ghost of Mr Tomkins was not known to take ambulances for a ride at night, although he added it "would be good if he did" .
"We could do with an extra officer on the road to help us on a busy Friday and Saturday night," he joked.
"I'm not sure how the patients would react if he turned up to assist us - especially when the stretcher wheeled itself into the hospital."
Mr Sim, who grew up in Ipswich, said that traditionally ghosts occupy places they worked at or lived in during life.
He runs a ghost tour on Saturday nights to Ipswich Cemetery and takes private tours on the haunted sites that exist in the city. The tour stops outside the old ambulance building where he relates the story of Mr Tomkins.
"I believe in ghosts. My business is all about haunted history and heritage," he said.
"This history is as important as traditional history.
"Ipswich has some really great ghost stories."