A rededication service was held for LSjt Edward Leonard Cottrell of 1/4th Leicestershire Regiment and Sjt Joseph Frank Brookes Birkin of 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment on Tuesday 22 March 2022 at Ypres Reservori Cemetery in Ieper.
Joseph (known as Frank) was born in 1893 in Loughborough, Leicestershire, to Joseph Birkin and Sarah Ann Calvert Brookes. He had six siblings: Florence M. (1892), Wilfred F. (1897), Albert (1901), Sarah (1903), George R. (1905) and Phyllis J (1907). The family moved to Quorn when Frank was 7 years old.
When he left Rawlins Grammar School, he went to work for Hinds Electrical Engineers in Loughborough, working a shaping machine. He also used to help in the family shop and off licence.
In March 1911, Frank decided to join the Army and enlisted with the 5th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment, which was the Lougborough Battalion. He was promoted to the rank of Corporal in June 1914 and then Serjeant in June 1915.
Frank tragically lost his life on 25 September 1915, on the first day of a British attack on Hooge, which aimed to distract the Germans attention from the main attack at Loos, France.
Lance Serjeant Edward Leonard Cottrell was Born in 1888 to William and Sarah Cottrell, in Lilleshal, Shropshire. He had six siblings: Agnes (1876), Florence (1880), William (1886), Frank (1890) and Gladys (1894). Before the war, the family were living in Newport and Edward was working as an Engineering Draughtsman.
Edward was formerly a member of the National Reserve, and at the outbreak of the war, enlisted in Leicester and served with the 1/4 Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment. A newspaper article reporting his death said, 'he was very popular in the Muxton district where he had many friends, who greatly mourn his demise'.
The letter reporting his death to his parents stated 'he was respected and liked by all ranks in the company. He died doing his duty, like a soldier and a man'.
The service was conducted by the Reverend Thomas Wilde CF.
The Last Post
Laying of the wreaths
Handing over the Union Jack
The family of Frank behind his grave.
Page made by WO1.be / Greatwar.be.