Mary and Lance Corporal Colin Colgrave



Mary and Lance Corporal Colin Colgrave


16818 Lance Corporal Colin Colgrave


Postcards, photographs, newspaper cuttings, certificates, medals, letters, cigarette box, crucifix.


Mr grandfather Colin Colgrave volunteered to fight for his country in World War 1. He left a wife, Mary and two young children, Olga Mary and Colin Junior, at home and set off to Beverley in Yorkshire to sign up to the East Yorkshire Regiment. He had promised his daughter that he would send postcards to her for the post card book he had bought. He sent cards from his training camps and other places he visited, and from Egypt when he was later posted there. He also wrote letters to his wife and to his son, and Mary wrote back to him regularly although he often didn't receive them so regularly, more often several at once.

Some of her letters were returned together with his other belongings after his death. He had promised Mary he would send some of the silk postcards made by local women and also a rosary from Lourdes if he could. These were all kept safely by Mary together with his army records and his medals. It seems that the children were allowed to play with his medals as the appropriate ribbons have become detached, which I imagine Mary felt might keep their father in their memories. After all they were only 5 and 2 respectively when he died. My mother Olga Mary always brought us up to respect Armistice Day and when we were lucky enough to acquire our first TV, we were encouraged to watch the service and parade at The Cenotaph, and stand in silence for 2 minutes.

It wasn't until after her death that these treasures came to light. After all, no-one ever wanted to talk about the war. Colin was fatally wounded in the Battle of Mouquet Farm (1916) by a rifle shot which caused a compound fracture to his right femur. He was taken to the No. 3 Canadian Hospital at Boulogne but developed gas gangrene and died at 0310hrs on 26th September 1916.

16818 Acting Corporal Colin Colgrave, of 6th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, is buried at East Boulogne Cemetery, France. He was 24 years old and gave his life for our tomorrows. May he rest in peace.




From Sheffield through training camps and to serve in Egypt, and then eventually on to Mouquet Farm in France.


Marilyn Beckly, daughter of Olga Mary (neé Colgrave).

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