War casualties from Embleton

Private Grey/Cole's grave in Embleton.
Private Grey/Cole's grave in Embleton.

Local historians in a north Northumberland village are trying to solve the mystery of a soldier with two names who died in the First World War.

In the cemetery at Embleton, there is a war grave of a J E Cole, who served as Private J E Grey in the Royal Welch Fusiliers 6th Garrison Battalion prior to his death in October 1917.

To add to the curiosity surrounding his two names, neither appears on the village’s war memorial nor the school’s honours board.

At the same time, the group is looking to prepare a booklet giving information on the lives and deaths of the men who lived in or near the village or attended the school and are named on the war memorial.

One of the group, Terry Howells, said: “It’s a real mystery to us because he is in the graveyard but not on the War Memorial, which is strange.

“We are also taking the opportunity to ask if people know anything about the other men who are linked to Embleton.

“There are more names on the memorial, from other places like Craster, but we are just focusing on Embleton as it would be too much for us otherwise.

“The difficulty we are having is all of the families are either dead or have left the area.”

He explained that while they can find out details of where and when the men died and basic family details from various records, the group is interested in background information or photos of the men, if they are available.

“Anything we can find out would be most helpful,” he added.

The 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War will take place next year, meaning the first-hand experience is almost all gone.

“It’s difficult now finding people even second-hand,” said Mr Howells.

“The men died young and their next of kin were their father or mother who were older.”

Anyone with any information about Private Grey/Cole or any of the other names listed to the right is asked to contact Terry Howells on 01665 576618.