For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
"We must never lose Hope that forgotten hero will be remembered"
IN a quiet corner of a remote French graveyard lies the final resting place of a North-East soldier who fell in the Second World War.
Lance Corporal Alfred Raymond Hope, from Darlington, died in August 1944, in the aftermath of the Normandy landings, aged 33.
His unit was ambushed and he was killed in a tank battle in the tiny hamlet of Ecots, 22 miles south-east of Caen.
The battle took place just 15 yards from the hamlet’s medieval church, with its beautifully maintained interior and the well-kept graveyard where L Cpl Hope is buried.
Caring villagers in Ecots, together with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), have ensured L Cpl Hope’s memorial remains well-tended and covered with flowers.
Richard Wilson, of Monmouthshire, came across the grave on a trip to Normandy last summer.
He contacted The Northern Echo last year, in an effort to trace any descendants of L Cpl Hope. No one came forward.
The mayor of Ecots has invited a 35-strong troop from the Queen’s Royal Hussars, the modern equivalent of L Cpl Hope’s batallion, to visit the memorial on November 11.
Together with a piper, they will take part in a service of remembrance at the graveside, where a commemorative wreath will be laid.
Mr Wilson said: “Not forgetting the loving care provided by the villagers and the CWGC, nor all the poppies and wreaths which mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the fact is that, in this corner of a foreign field that is forever L Cpl Hope’s, he has remained unnoticed by his own countrymen for the 59 years that have elapsed since he died.”
Alfred Raymond Hope was born in Darlington in 1911 to Alfred and Letitita Hope, eventually getting married to Alice Ivy and serving in the 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars.
Mr Wilson is hopeful that some of L Cpl Hope’s family members will be found before the service.
He added: “It will provide an opportunity to thank the people of Ecots for their care, over the years, for one of our own.
“And how marvellous for L Cpl Hope if his relatives were traced so that, at the going down of the sun in Ecots, they were present to remember him.”
:: Anyone with information about any relatives of L Cpl Hope is welcome to call The Northern Echo on 01325-505071 or email email@example.com
Comments are closed on this article.