World War One postcard found in Shepreth

A POSTCARD sent to a soldier during World War One was found at a village hall on Sunday (12).

Workmen were working the 100-year-old Shepreth Village Hall when the postcard, sent to ‘Drum E C Wolstencroft,’ was found hidden between wooden wall panels.

It appears to have been written by a woman named ‘Nellie,’ and is dated at April 1915, when the hall was used as a military hospital.

Dianne Sinnatamby, who runs the Granta Montessori nursery school in the village hall and is also a member of the hall management committee, said: “The wood panelling has a little shelf on top and I suspect the soldier stood the card on there and it slipped down the back.

“It’s amazing to think that it’s been lying there for 95 years and nobody realised. I plan to show it to the children and to talk to them a little bit about the war and the soldiers who were here. It really is living history.”

The postcard is addressed to Drum E C Wolstencroft, of the ‘3rd Royal Fusliers at the Auxiliary Hospital near Royston, Herts.’

It reads: “Dear Teddy, don’t think I have forgotten your letter.” It then goes on to say she hope he is “quite alright.”

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Early research from locals show that a Private Edward Coulton Wolstencroft came from Edmonton, Middlesex, and died on July 7 1916 – probably during the battle of the Somme – when he was in his mid-twenties.

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

The name ‘Drummer Wolstencroft’ can also be found on a village list of soldiers treated at the hospital in Shepreth. Village hall booking clerk Louise Barrell said: “It’s fascinating to wonder who Edward Wolstencroft was and what happened to him. When did he arrive in Shepreth? How did he come to be here? When did he return to the fighting?

“And so sad to think that a little over a year after receiving this card he would die in one of the most horrific battles there’s ever been.

“And who was ‘Nellie’? Was she a sweetheart? A girl he’d met on leave? What happened to her? We’d love to find out the answers to some of these questions - and hopefully we will.”

Commonwealth war graves commission records show that Private Wolstencroft – service number L/13456 – died a week after Britain’s unsuccessful battles of the Somme.

He was the son of Edward and Annie Wolstencroft, of 40 Gordon Road, Edmonton, and was the second of 12 children.

He was a seaman born in Hulme, Greater Manchester, in 1868, and married Annie Cooper in Bethnal Green, London, in 1888.

Villagers plan to track down family of Private Wolstencroft and let them have the postcard.