Letchworth serviceman who died aged 19 remembered 60 years on

Private Ron Hope (l) with his friend Private Robert Coulson (r)

Private Ron Hope (l) with his friend Private Robert Coulson (r) - Credit: Archant

Friends have come together to commerate the 60th anniversary of a serviceman’s death.

Letchworth GC resident Robert Coulson was just 19 when he died in Egypt’s canal zone during the 1951-1954 campaign, but his friend Ron Hope has never forgotten him.

Pte Coulson, who lived in Archers Way, was halfway through his two years’ national service with the 1st Battalion Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment when he died on October 6, 1953. He was electrocuted while repairing telephone wires and is thought to be the only national serviceman from Letchworth GC killed while on active service.

Ron said: “We went to Norton Road School together and were both called up for our national service on September 4, 1952.

Robert was a very shy boy, very quiet – sometimes you didn’t know he was around. He was a very popular member of the signals company.”

Eight veterans of the Suez campaign met at the service held at St George’s Church in Letchworth GC on Sunday.

The 79-year-old said: “It was a very good service. We had an army display which went down well, people were very interested.

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“Unless the man upstairs gives me another 10 years, I think this will be the last one. It was nice reminiscing, sadly there were some missing from the gang as they have now passed away. I look at the photo of us all and there are a lot of blanks now.

“I have always remembered the date of his death. I am sure every serviceman has these thoughts about comrades that have died. They say old soldiers never die and I will never stop remembering for as long as I am alive.”