Soldier honoured 92 years after death

A MAN who died in Belgium during the First World War is to be honoured 92 years after his death.

A MAN who died in Belgium during the First World War is to be honoured 92 years after his death.

The daughter of Leiston born Frank Forsdike will receive his First World War medals on May 10 after they have been stored in a vault awaiting collection since 1920.

Frank Forsdike emigrated to Canada in 1907 and died in Belgium in 1916 while fighting for the Canadian armed forces. He will be honoured in a special remembrance service in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Frank grew up in Leiston and worked at the Garrett Works, he married a woman from Theberton and the family was prominent in Leiston life from 1850 until the 1970s. Forsdikes also ran The Crown pub in Leiston from 1890 to 1955.

This remarkable event will take place thanks to the efforts of Forsdike family member Ian Forsdike who had been researching his family tree for more than 12 years.

“During family tree research, I discovered my family, the Forsdike family, all came from Leiston. My great-grandfather's brother, Frank Forsdike, is the man mentioned above,” said Mr Forsdike from Bedford.

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“His name appears on the War Memorial at St Margaret's Church and at the council's graveyard in Leiston.

“I had been researching his life, his regiment and was intrigued by the fact that at the end of the First World War his family (wife and daughter) was not traceable in Toronto for receipt of his medals. The trail was cold and no details existed in the family as to where they had gone.”

He added that three years ago he set up a website to honour Frank's regiment and the men who served with it, and to serve as a focal point for people to remember their relatives. The site address is www.4cmr.com.

“The site had a background motive, which was that if ever the family did look for Frank's history, they would find my website and me,” said Mr Forsdike. “I had, though, given up hope of ever finding the family. Imagine my surprise and overwhelming emotion when Frank's grandson contacted me by email, after having found the website on November 11 2007 - Remembrance Day.”

Mr Forsdike discovered Frank's daughter, Florence, was still alive, now aged 94, and the family was living in Nova Scotia, Canada. He added: “I told them that Frank's medals had been in a vault in Veteran's Affairs, Ottawa, since 1920, waiting to be claimed.

“I made a flying visit to see the family and meet Florence over New Year. She was just two years old when her father died, and she never knew him and despite three trips to Britain between 1973 and 1985, to find out about her roots, she could find nothing, and she returned home disappointed.”

Frank Forsdike's medals were finally issued to his daughter just a few weeks ago.

“She is thrilled that she now has something tangible to remember her father by,” said Mr Forsdike.

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