Family finally find grave of hero Pc from Dalston

Geoffrey Cole, centre, with his wife Jill and son Tim, finally pay respect to Geoffrey's grand-uncle

Geoffrey Cole, centre, with his wife Jill and son Tim, finally pay respect to Geoffrey's grand-uncle George Cole, after years looking for his grave. - Credit: Archant

An eight-year search for a gravestone of a relative – whose death is rumoured to have inspired a clue in a Sherlock Holmes novel – came to an end, thanks to an article in the Gazette.

Geoffrey Cole, 57, from Bristol, had spent years trying to find the gravestone of his great grand-uncle, policeman George Cole. He was shot dead by a thief trying to break into a chapel – now known as Shiloh Pentecostal Church – in Ashwin Street, Dalston in 1882.

Mr Cole visited Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington Church Street twice with his son in 2004 and spent hours fruitlessly searching.

Last December, the engineer’s search came to an end after a colleague unearthed an article published in the Gazette about a memorial service for Pc Cole to commemorate the 130th anniversary of his death in the line of duty.

Mr Cole wrote an email to the Gazette, saying: “I simply cannot believe this article.

“I would simply have loved to have been there last month at this police ceremony to represent my brave ancestor and the Cole family – it would have been such an honour for me, particularly as my father Kenneth Francis Cole was also a senior police officer for more than 30 years.”

The grave was discovered by Keith Foster, a volunteer researcher at the Police Roll of Honour Trust, a charity which keeps alive the memory of officers killed in the line of duty. He unearthed it after a four-month search and restored the grave in time for the service.

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Last Friday Mr Foster showed Mr Cole the grave, where he laid a wreath with his wife and son.

Mr Cole said: “It was very emotional and rewarding to find the actual location after searching for all that time .

“We said one or two prayers and a hymn that was sung at his funeral. I’m really grateful for Keith’s efforts to find it and help us afterwards.”