The tale of two Wisbech soldiers killed in the First World War

PUBLISHED: 10:00 03 May 2015

James Cole's grave.

James Cole's grave.

Archant

A man paid his respects at the graves of two Wisbech soldiers during a visit to the First World War battlefields.

Eric Gardiner's grave.Eric Gardiner's grave.

David Prestidge, of Wisbech, spent some time at the graves of Eric Gardiner and James Cole.

Mr Gardiner was the son of the owner and editor of The Wisbech Advertiser. He was killed age 23 near St Eloi (south of Ypres) in April 1915. His family lived in the big house (Trevordale) nearest to Tillery Field.

On Eric’s grave, in Voormezeele Enclosure No.3 (Military Cemetery), it says: “God gave him a great thing to do, and he did it.”

The other grave was that of Mr Cole. He lived with his wife and children in Whitby Street.

He joined the 11th Suffolks, in spite of him being over the age for conscription or recruitment.

He was killed, with hundreds of other colleagues, while attacking the famous crater at La Boiselle.

His widow, Susannah, was never able to visit his grave in Becourt Military Cemetery, but in later years his family were able to go to France.

They brought back some soil from his grave, and sprinkled it around Susannah’s grave in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

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