Local BBC Sites

Page last updated at 12:18 GMT, Tuesday, 14 December 2010
World War I postcard found hidden in Shepreth
Postcard from World War I found hidden behind a wall
Postcard sent by Nellie to Pte Wolstencroft while he was in hospital

A postcard dating from World War I has been found hidden behind panelling in a village hall in Cambridgeshire.

The hall in Shepreth was used as a military hospital during the war and the recipient is believed to have been a wounded soldier.

Villagers are trying to piece together the story of Pte Edward Wolstencroft of the Royal Fusiliers and Nellie, the woman who sent him the card.

Nellie wrote: "Dear Teddy, Don't think I have forgotten you."

Although the postcard was only discovered on Sunday 12 December 2010, keen historians in Shepreth have already uncovered a great deal of information about Pte Wolstencroft.

The soldier, who was a drummer with the 9th Battalion the Royal Fusiliers, originally came from Middlesex.

He was one of 12 children born to Edward Coulton Wolstencroft and Annie Wolstencroft, of 40 Gordon Road, Lower Edmonton.

It is believed that Pte Wolstencroft was treated at the hospital in Shepreth in 1915, before returning to active duty in France.

Records from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission show that he died on 7 July 1916.

Soldiers and staff at the hospital in Shepreth
Soldiers and staff outside Shepreth Village Hall during WWI

Pte Wolstencroft's name is on the war memorial at Thiepval, in France, and the assumption is that he was killed during the Battle of the Somme.


While information is plentiful about Pte Wolstencroft's army career, parents and birthplace, nothing is known about Nellie, the woman who sent him the postcard in April 1915.

Dianne Sinnatamby is a nursery school teacher in Shepreth and is keen to discover more about the pair.

"We don't know if she was his wife, or a girlfriend, or what," she explained.

"We're hopeful that we can find out a bit more about Nellie, which is why we're putting out as many details as we can.

"There might be some relatives somewhere who can come forward and tell us who she was."

Dianne's pupils attend school in the village hall and she is using the postcard and the story to teach them about World War I.

Postcard from World War I found hidden behind a wall
Nellie said she had not forgotten Teddy and signed her card with kisses


The postcard sent from Nellie to Pte Edward Coulton Wolstencroft, which contained spelling errors, read as follows:

"Dear Teddy, Don't think I have forgotten you letter following hopeing you are quite alright love from Nellie xxxx"

More information

If you have any information about the history of the military hospital at Shepreth, or think you might know who Nellie was, please send an email to BBC Cambridgeshire and we will forward details to Dianne Sinnatamby.

In pictures: Remembrance in Cambridgeshire
15 Nov 10 |  People & Places
Remembering city's wartime horror
24 Jun 10 |  History



Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific