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Grave of First World War soldier from Little Cornard rededicated after burial place identified 100 years on

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The final resting place of a Suffolk soldier, which was lost for over a century after his death, has been rededicated, filling in a missing piece of family history for his descendants.

A formal service took place in Belgium last month to rededicate the grave of Sergeant Frederick Cardy, a Little Cornard-born soldier who died in conflict during the First World War.

While serving in The Royal Irish Fusiliers, Sgt Cardy was killed during the 3rd Battle of Ypres in August 1917, after which he was buried and a wooden cross was installed.

Geoff Cardy, grandson of Sgt Frederick Cardy. Picture: Mark Westley
Geoff Cardy, grandson of Sgt Frederick Cardy. Picture: Mark Westley

But when his remains were concentrated into the White House Cemetery, near Ypres, his original grave marker was damaged, and an administrative error meant he could not be identified.

As such, Sgt Cardy was listed as missing, and he was instead commemorated on the Menin Gate, while his name is also listed on the Cornard war memorial.

One-hundred years later, however, the grave was rediscovered thanks to the efforts of war history researchers, who specialise in identifying unknown graves of British soldiers.

Sgt Frederick Cardy with his wife Emily Layzell and son Ralph. Picture: Mark Westley
Sgt Frederick Cardy with his wife Emily Layzell and son Ralph. Picture: Mark Westley

The case was submitted to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which confirmed the identification, after carrying out further research with the National Army Museum and the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre.

His grandson, Geoff Cardy, told SuffolkNews that the discovery was a big surprise, and it meant a lot to be able to properly lay his grandfather to rest so many years later.

“As a child, my grandmother always said she never knew where my grandfather was buried,” said the 74-year-old. “She only had a little piece of paper saying when he died.

“My father died years ago and he never knew. It was a big surprise, but it’s amazing to know my grandfather has been buried, 100 years after he was killed.

Sgt Frederick Cardy's medals. Picture: Mark Westley
Sgt Frederick Cardy's medals. Picture: Mark Westley

“I’m an ex-serviceman myself. I served 12 years in the Army, so it means more to me than anything.

“I’ve still got all his things from the war, including his medals. I have two sons who are in their 40s now, and it gives them that additional bit of family history.”

Born in Little Cornard in 1882 as one of eight children, Sgt Cardy enlisted in the Army in 1901, at the age of 18, serving with the 13th Royal Hussars.

After tours in South Africa and India, he returned home and married Emily Layzell, and the couple then relocated to Canada.

Following the outbreak of war, he re-enlisted with the Hussars at the end of 1916, just a few months after his son, Ralph, was born, and then transferred to The Royal Irish Fusiliers.

His rededication service was held at the White House Cemetery, and was attended by British and Irish embassy representatives, as well as serving soldiers from The Royal Irish Regiment.

Geoff, of Essex Avenue in Sudbury, added: “I was always told my grandfather was a bit of a character.

“A lot of the family were in farm work, but the impression I got is that my grandfather was never going to be a farm worker.

“He just wanted to get away and enjoy a life abroad, and he managed to do that.”