No pictures exist of Frank Toovey Lake and his grave in Hiroshima only bore his surname: Lake.

For years, the Japanese were left baffled. Who was this mysterious Lake and why did no records exist of him?

The villagers tended to his resting place, which is on the western edge of the Enoura Village, and erected a cross. Taking pity on him, a wealthy villager registered his death at a local temple.

But years later, the mystery was solved.

Records had incorrectly referred to him as dying aboard the HMS Sylvia which was sailing on the Seto Nai Kai Sea.

But in fact, he died suddenly, possibly of cholera, aboard the HMS Manila when he was just 19, in 1868.

This week marks the 150th anniversary of his death and the Japanese honoured the day with a memorial service at his grave.

Frank Toovey Lake was born and raised in Kings Langley and he and his two brothers lost their parents when they were young.

They were sent to St Albans School as boarders but Frank left school at 14 in order to join the Royal Navy.

His career took him onto the HMS Britannia before he boarded the HMS Manila, where he helped survey potential sites for lighthouses around Japan’s coastline.

No explanation was given for his death, although it was sudden and unexpected. A notice in the London and China Telegraph in 1869 gives his cause of death as a ‘short illness’.

Captain John Henry Brunton was determined to give him a good send off. In Japan, it is customary to present flowers to the dead but with none in the area, he wrote to the government asking for it to be preserved.

Immediately after the funeral, several men and women holding shrubs and twigs approached his grave in a tender act of kindness.

Today, they still look after his grave – a representation of the enduring friendship between the two countries.

To mark the 150th anniversary of his death, a monument was unveiled in his honour at his resting place.

While this may seem like a minor event, it was important enough for Paul Madden, the British Ambassador to Japan, to send a message about it.

He wrote: “The new granite commemorative monument is a fitting and handsome tribute to Midshipman Lake, and to the enduring friendship that exists between Japan and the UK.”

The ceremony lasted a morning and included leaders from the local community as well as the Mayor of Marugame City.

It was also attended by a descendant of the Toovey family and an Englishman who lives in Japan and has researched the history of the grave.

A few hours later, a rose and a commemorative letter was laid on the memorial to Lake in All Saints Church in Kings Langley.