World War One postcard comes home

A POSTCARD lost by a Great War soldier being treated in a village hall hospital 96 years ago has been returned to relatives.

Carpenters Alan Payne and Jason Grant found Private Edward Wolstencroft’s card in December while fixing floorboards in the village hall at Shepreth.

Local amateur genealogist Chris East then tracked down Private Wolstencroft’s nephew, Paul Wolstencroft of Hertford Heath.

On Saturday at an event that exhibited Shepreth’s role during the Great War the card was handed over to Mr Wolstencroft by resident Eve Hardman, 82, whose grandmother Flora was a nurse at the hospital.

Mr East, of Weston, said: “It was so fulfilling to get it back to the family it belongs to.

“I went to see Paul having traced him through the electoral role and he was just the right man who should have it. It was like something out of a book.

“He has medals belonging to Private Wolstencroft, photos of him and paintings by him, and even used to have a violin of his until it was sold, so he’s really into this sort of thing.”

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Records show that the hall, built in 1910, was used as a military hospital between 1915 and 1919.

The card, sent by Private Wolstencroft’s sister Nellie and postmarked April 17 1915, was found behind a wooden wall panel.

It is expected that it slipped behind the panel after Private Wolstencroft placed it on a shelf.

Research revealed that Private Wolstencroft, who came from Edmonton, Middlesex, died on July 7 1916 during the Battle of the Somme when he was in his mid 20s.

He is remembered on the war memorial dedicated to missing First World War soldiers at Thiepval in the Picardie region of France.