44501, Private Henry James COLE
Aged 20

20th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry
Killed in Action on Wednesday 4th September 1918

Born in Exning in Q3-1898 [Newmarket 3b:522], to Henry and Elizabeth COLE (née BALLS)of Kremlin Cottages, Fordham Road, Newmarket.

1901 census...Henry [2] was at Kremlin Cottages, Fordham Road, Newmarket with his father Henry [43], stud groom born Exning; his mother Elizabeth [32], born Upend and his sister Dorothy [4], born Upend.

1911 census...Henry James [12] was now at 7 Shaves Terrace, Newmarket with his parents; sister Dorothy Elizabeth and 2 new sisters Alice Georgina [9] born Upend, and Ellen Ethel [2] born Exning and new brothers Alfred William[7] and Charles William [5] both born in Exning.

Many mentions of Exning may actually be for Newmarket since the parish of Exning formed part of Newmarket.
His parents were later at the Outfall Works, Exning Road, Newmarket. His mother, Elizabeth Mary BALLS married Henry COLE in 1896 and by 1916 was living at 2 Outfall Works, Newmarket.
She was the mother of Albert E.C.H.BALLS see here who died of his injuries in October 1918 in Cambridge.

His entry in "Our Exning Heroes" reads
"Henry James Cole, whose parents live at the Irrigation Cottages, joined the Army on February 16th, 1917. He went out to France in the following September, but shortly afterwards was sent to Italy, where he remained some months, and then returned to France. He was reported missing and wounded on September 4th, 1918, and up to the time of going to press nothing more has been heard of him, and we fear that he must be numbered with the slain.
On leaving school he went as an errand boy in Mr.Sheppard's shop, and was working his way up, and just before he joined the Army he was serving behind the counter. He was only twenty when reported missing."

He enlisted in Newmarket. Attested for Northumberland Fusiliers on 7th August 1916, he was 5' 8 1/4" (173.3 cm)tall, weighing 123 lbs (56 kg), and gave his age as 17 yrs 11 months. Mobilised from the 25th Training Reserves Battalion #98912 on 16th February 1917, he was initially in the Machine Gun Corps (3989),before eventually going from 31st Infantry Base Depot, Bovingdon Camp on 9th June 1916. He then embarked to join the the B.E.F. on 20th September 1917. On the 24th September 1917 he was transferred yet again, to the 20th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, Private #44501.
He went to Italy sometime in November 1917, (dates unclear) and then returned to France in March 1918 where it looks like he was wounded(again the date is unclear).His father had written to the War Office in March 1918 as he had letters returned.

He was reported missing and presumed dead on 4th September 1918. The depot recorded no will or small book deposited with them and no personal effects were sent to his next of kin. Unfortunately much of his surviving service record is barely legible.He appears to have died the day the tide turned for the Allies on the Yprs Salient and Ploegsteert was re-taken.
The DLI lost 47 men this day.

No known grave - Henry is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial Ref:panels 128-131, 162 162A
and is also commemorated on the Roll of Honour in St Philip & St Etheldreda's Church, Exning Road,
and on the brass plaque in St Martin's Church, Exning.

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details