Tidying grave of war victim helped family track down long-lost relative

Suzanne had a locket with her grandfather's picture in.

Suzanne had a locket with her grandfather's picture in. - Credit: Archant

A Portishead town councillor finds family of Hull soldier they did not know was buried in Somerset.

His inquest was reported in the paper

His inquest was reported in the paper - Credit: Archant

Bob Cartwright discovered the grave of Corporal Goffton Cyril Bull after visiting the cemetery, in Clevedon Road, in November last year.

The Independent councillor, cleaned the grave after noticing it was covered in leaves and was leaned over.

He created a post on Facebook about the soldier which caught Nic Tompkin's attention.

The pair have since worked together to find information about the Corporal and the discovery he was from Hull.

Corporal Bull died and his body was found in Portishead

Corporal Bull died and his body was found in Portishead - Credit: Archant


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A letter sent to the local paper in the East Yorkshire town led them to meet his granddaughter Suzanne Walkington.

The 50-year-old said since his death all the family knew was Goffton 'found on the rocks'.

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She said: "I had to do this visit for my mum.

"My mother Gertrude was born in 1939 so she barely knew him.

Suzanne paid a visit to the Commonwealth War Graves

Suzanne paid a visit to the Commonwealth War Graves - Credit: Archant

"We were told he died and was found on the rocks but as a family we knew nothing else.

"I felt touched and emotional when we were leaving Portishead to go back home, it was like my husband and I were leaving something behind.

"My grandmother had left me the locket with his picture in when she died and I had always kept it.

"I had almost forgotten about it until I got asked if I had any pictures of him by Bob and Nic.

"Ever since the visit, I have found out from the Hull history centre Goffton's parents name and that he was awarded two medals which I'm looking to retrieve."

Corporal Bull was born in 1903 and he started his career in 1924 when he joined the Royal Artillery.

He married Jessie Maud Moore in 1931 and they had two daughters - Barbara and Gertrude.

Corporal Bull drowned along with two other men, according to an inquest reported in the paper in 1941. His body was found eight days later.

Bob said: "Learning about Corporal Bull has been such an inspiration.

"When we got hold of his war documents we didn't have pictures but Suzanne was able to provide some.

"Maybe next year we'll visit where his body was found."

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