The Cole family

The Cole graves are unfortunately typical of many in the cemetery. A family member said ‘my wife and I visited Sidmouth cemetery last year and were disappointed with the overgrown state of the COLE memorials. We have photos taken over several years which showed the memorials in well kept grass but photo in 2023 shows the overgrown graves .’

Not only that, but the pictures show that one memorial has toppled over, or been laid down, and is now almost completely obscured by overgrowth. ‘The memorials are accessible from top vehicle access go down the steps onto the grass path to the very end and just down the rough grass with graves on your left.’ we were told.

A comparison of the view from 2014 with that from last summer (2023) shows just how much maintenance has been neglected.

It is, perhaps, even more distressing that these graves are from a family who served with distinction in our Armed Forces. They commemorate Maj. Gen.RA Cole and Maj. Gen. GW Cole, who were brothers, and their family. There is an exception, Second Lieutenant Humphrey P Cole, son of RA Cole, is commemorated on the Parish memorial instead of with his family, he was killed on 3rd April 1916 at the age of 21, and is commemorated also at Corbie, Somme. The family lived at Fairleigh, Sidmouth,

From 2014


From 1979/80

Explaining these images the comments accompanying them are ‘These were the slides I took 1979 – 1980.
It shows how the lower part of the cemetery has been slowly let go into decline by the District Council I’m afraid and it’s apparent it is not a recent decision.’

The graves above are, top left Ursula, daughter of Major General RA Cole and his wife Henrietta, top right Major General RA Cole, bottom Henrietta Cole in centre foreground with the other two graves behind.

Note the bluebells on the bank.

The death of Major General George Wynne Cole is reported in two different papers claiming him as a resident. One set of reports gives his residence as Sidmouth but another set give his residence as Bournemouth. It is uncontested that his brother Robert died in Sidmouth. Both brothers were born in India; their father, also Robert, was Inspector-General Hospitals Indian Medical Service.

George Wynne Cole was also an inventor, in his retirement he invented a folding deck and camp chair.

You can see the Patent here

This was how the death of Humphrey Porteus Cloe was reported in the local newspapers