Historians hunt for family of Somme soldier

Local historians trying to trace relatives of a soldier killed during the Battle of the Somme in 1916 have unearthed photographs of troops being treated in a village hospital during the First World War.

Injured servicemen are seen with nurses in the village hall in Shepreth, Cambridgeshire, which was used as a military hospital between 1915 and 1919.



The photographs came to light after locals in Shepreth started searching for the family of Private Edward Wolstencroft, who was treated at the hospital in 1915.



Shortly before Christmas workmen fixing floorboards at the hall found a postcard written to Private Wolstencroft in April 1915 hidden behind wooden wall panels.



Locals want to return the card, which appears to have been written by a woman named "Nellie", to the soldier's family. On the card "Nellie" wrote, "Dear Teddy, Don't think I have forgotten you letter following hopeing you are quite all right love from Nellie." Villagers think that the card slipped behind panels after being propped on a shelf.



Data shows that Private Wolstencroft, who came from Edmonton, Middlesex, died at the age of 26 on July 7 1916 - a week after British troops launched their ill-fated Somme attack on German lines. Records show that he is remembered on the war memorial dedicated to missing First World War soldiers at Thiepval in the Picardie region of France.



The pictures belong to 90-year-old Roy Chamberlain, of Foxton, Cambridgeshire, whose grandmother Mary was a nurse at the hospital and whose father William was badly wounded on the Somme in July 1916. He made contact with villagers in Shepreth after reading about the postcard.



Three photographs show injured soldiers in and out of bed and nurses standing by. Cards can be seen sitting on a wooden shelf and one picture shows a soldier in bed near the spot where the postcard was found.



"They're fantastic pictures - but sadly we don't know when they were taken," said village hall booking clerk Louise Barrell.



"We've seen pictures of soldiers and nurses outside the hall but no-one can remember seeing photographs taken inside during the First World War.



"Could it possibly be that one of the soldiers pictured is Private Wolstencroft? If anyone recognises anyone in the pictures or knows anything about when they were taken we'd love to hear from them."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £30,000+

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for individual...

Recruitment Genius: IT Project Coordinator / Manager

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy