H. E. Cole was born in London, England, in 1904. He attended the London School of Printing and Graphic Arts Institute before becoming an apprentice at Waterlow & Sons, where he would stay for a whole decade.
Cole would later come to work for Bradbury Wilkinson, as a letter engraver. He stayed fifteen years at BW. During that time he engraved the frames of the 1952 'National Coach Museum' set issued in Portugal.