Devoran WW1 100 Remembered



A Date for Your Diary Armistice Sunday 11 November 2018

Join us for the next part of Devoran 100, remembering the local men who served during World War 1  one hundred years ago, as World War 1 came to an end.

I will be updating the display from 2014 about each casualty with what we have unearthed or researched about them since then.

Every Remembrance Sunday the local casualty  names are read out at the War Memorial.

How else has Devoran marked the contribution of the area in World War 1 during the 1914-1919 Centenary? 

Devoran oppies Bob Richards

Bob Richards talks at the coffee morning about the WW1 casualties, Poppies Coffee Morning, Devoran Village Hall, 19 July 2014

In 2014 the fabulous Devoran Village Hall team organised the Poppies coffee morning to mark the outbreak of WW1 100 years on.

Shortly after this the Devoran Parish Roll of Honour left for restoration, thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant.

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Rev. Margaret Saville unveiling the Handmade poppies framing the WW1 roll of Honour, Devoran Village Hall, 19 July 2014.


The new panel on the Devoran War Memorial, listing two new WW1 Devoran casualty names P.A. Sweet and W.J. Hoyle, thanks to work / research by Bob Richards and the Feock Parish Council. Image: Mark Norris

In 2014 two new WW1 names – P. Sweet and W.J. Hoyle –  were added to the Devoran War Memorial after research by Bob Richards.

DEvoran poppy book pages

A few of the simple biographies of each WW1 casualty from Devoran. Poppies Coffee Morning , Devoran Village Hall 19 July 2014


A few of the items on display in 2014.

At the Devoran Centenary Railway Festival in 2015, the WW1 Roll of Honour returned, looking as good as new,  with the exciting discovery of a lost early draft section hidden behind the familiar frontispiece.

On 1st July 2016  Bob Richards, Ann Cunningham and I told some of the stories behind the 1914 – 1916 casualties and the “Names on The Roll”.

In 2018, on the 100th anniversary of the Armistice,  the Devoran Village Hall is hosting a tea and coffee event with the chance to view an update of the Devoran War Memorial Project display from 2014 and 2016. 


We hope to see you there.

Bob, Ann and I hope in autumn 2019 – after five years of researching the names on the Roll and the  War Memorial – to do the final talk about Devoran men of WW1 and their families. This will update the story from   1916 to  1919, and be scheduled for  round about the time that the War Memorial recreation ground was dedicated and the War Memorial built in Devoran. Dates tbc.

Meanwhile … 

On the 100th anniversary date of each identified casualty on the WW1 Devoran War Memorial, I have posted an update on this blog of what we know about that man and his death in WW1.

We marked or will mark the 70th,  75th and 80th anniversary of the WW2 names from Devoran as well. We may do a future talk on the thankfully fewer WW2 names after 2019.

Sadly these posts do not come to an end with the Armistice Centenary but extend out into 1919/2019 as the final casulaties died of wounds many months after the Armistice.

The mental and physical scars were born by the surviving men and the families of Devoran for many years afterwards.

100 years on, Devoran remembers.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project, September 2018.


Remembering the lost sailors of Devoran on Merchant Navy Day 3rd September 2018


A mass of wreaths and poppies at The Tower Hill Merchant Navy memorial, Oct 2014 (Mark Norris, Devoran War memorial Project)

Remembering all the men and women of The Merchant Navy throughout both wars and peacetime who work hard to supply and feed us

Many Devoran men served in the Merchant Navy during both wars. some of them sadly died on active service.


Devoran’s T.H. Kemp, SS Ocean Courage recorded on the WW2 section, Tower Hill memorial.

Devoran men like G.F. Crocker died with Merchant Navy in WW1.


Devoran’s G.F.Crocker of the SS Sailor Prince, one of the Merchant Navy men from WW1 with no known grave lost at sea recorded on the Tower Hill Memorial, London (Picture: Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial project )

T.H. Kemp and W.C. Nicholls were also lost at sea in WW2.


W.C. Nicholls, AthelPrincess, WW2 section , Tower Hill memorial

3rd September is of course also the anniversary of war being declared on 3rd September 1939.

Remembering the men and women of the Merchant Navy past and present  on Merchant Navy Day 3rd September. Hooray for the Red Duster!  

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project, 3rd September 2018.


Remembering William Thomas Ball Peters of Carnon Downs died of wounds WW1 27 August 1918

William Thomas Ball Peters of Carnon Downs, who served with the RFC Kite Balloon Section and the Sherwood Foresters died of wounds in France on 27 August 1918.

W.T.B. Peters lies buried in the small casualty clearing station related cemetery at Fienvillers (Image: CWGC)

Private William Thomas Ball Peters, 72511, 10th Battalion, Sherwood Forestrs (Notts and Derby Regiment) died of wounds aged 26 on 27th August 1918.

Peters is buried in grave B24, Fienvillers British Cemetery, Somme, France. This small cemetery of 124 burials was made by the 38th and 34th Casualty Clearing Station, Fienvillers between May and September 1918.

Before his transfer to the ‘Sherwood Foresters’, according to his surviving army service records, W.T.B. Peters (resident in 1914/5 in Shulock Road, Hampstead as a Milk Carrier) had a strange wartime career in the early Royal Flying Corps as 12357, Kite Balloon Section, RFC.

Kite Balloons were a tethered balloon for two observers, maintained by a large ground team – see the kite balloon entry in the Mary Evans picture library blog.

He joined on 11 / 12 November 1915 at South Farnborough and served in the RFC until 8 March 1916 when he was transferred into the Army in France. His RFC training in December 1915 was at Hare Park Camp, Curragh in Ireland, an RFC training depot.

Local links

Born in Perranwell, Cornwall in 1893, Peters was the only son of Thomas (b.1864) and Mary Annie Peters (nee Davey, b.1867) of Ash Tree Cottage, Carnon Downs, Cornwall.

Thomas his father was listed on the 1911 census as an egg merchant and farmer. Obviously a family business, for William his son is an 18 year old Assistant in Wholesale Egg Merchant ‘looking after warehouse’ in 1911, living in Gospel Oak, NW London.

William had two sisters to mourn his loss, Dora Annie Peters (born Feock, 14 March 1899 – died Truro, March 1973). She married Leslie R.J. Hannam (1891- 1921) in 1918. His other sister, Ida Mary Peters was born c. 1907/8 in Hampstead when the family were working in or visiting London.

William Thomas Ball Peters – Remembered.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project, Devoran, 27 August 2018

Remembering George Francis Rogers of Devoran WW1 died 30 June 1918

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Devoran war memorial names M to W

G. Rogers? C. Rogers? On the brass plaque inside the church it looks like C.M. Rogers. On the war memorial itself G and C are very similar in lettering.

The most likely local match is G. F. Rogers, Flight cadet 137361, RAF / 73 Company Royal Garrison Artillery who died on 30 June 1918, having drowned (accident).


Copyright Image source: TGWPP / Rogers family 

Rogers is buried at grave B65, Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery (a hospital base cemetery) in Egypt.


George Rogers lies amongst the graves at Alexandria Hadra War Memorial Cemetery (CWGC source)

The local Devoran connection is his listing as the son of Joseph and Gertude Rogers of Bissoe, Perranwell, and husband of Elsie M. Richards (formerly Rogers), Carnon Downs, Perranwell.

George was born in Tregothnall (Tregothnan?), he was a Farmer on enlistment into the Royal Regiment of Artillery, farming with his father Joseph at Hillside Farm, Bissoe, Perranwell.

He served and trained at home with the Royal Field Artillery from 27 November 1915 to 21 June 1916, served in India from 22 June 1916 to 13 January 1918. He served in Egypt  from 14 January 1918 to 30 June 1918 when he drowned.

Reading through his surviving service records, a court of enquiry interviewing witnesses (fellow RAF cadets and medical staff) into his drowning during a swimming party in the sea on a hot Egyptian Sunday records this as an accidental death.

George had married Elsie May Dunstan in Truro on 6 May  1916.

Tony Dyson’s 2007 research notes (via Bob Richards) that Elsie M. Rogers his widow remarried between July and September 1920 one Frederick J. Richards.

George Francis Rogers, Farmer of Bissoe, remembered.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project, 30 June 2018.


Remembering Edgar Francis Medley 27 May 1918 WW1

Lance Corporal Edgar Francis Medley,
883217, 31st Battalion Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment)  died aged 39 on 27 May 1918 of war wounds.


One name that crops up on a CWGC search under the name ‘Devoran’ is Edgar Francis Medley but his connection appears at the moment quite slim but interesting –  involving family connections of forgotten Canadian war graves, emigration, Red Cross Orderly Reverends and Conscientious Objection by the “conchie” brother of a British prime minister.

Born May 4th 1879 in Toxteth,  Liverpool, he is the only CWGC burial in Innisfail Bowden Chalak Farm Cemetery, Alberta, Canada. Intriguingly the CWGC website records that ‘recent research shows he is buried here.


Image source CWGC

He graduated from Oxford Wadham College and his Oxford memorial records that he died in Canada of wounds received in France and Belgium in 1917.

He married in 1905 in Banff, Canada where he seems to have spent most of his life working as a farmer in the Red Deer District, Innisfail, Alberta, Canada  having emigrated in 1903 or 1905.


He is listed as the husband of Louise Maude Medley, living in Innisfail, Alberta, who was also British born. They had two daughters Catherine (Kitty) and Eileen.

He enlisted in the 31st Battalion (Alberta) Canadian Expeditionary Force Through the course of the First World War, the 31st Battalion suffered losses of 941 dead, and an additional 2,312 non-fatal casualties.,_CEF

He was remembered at Remembrance commemorations in 2014 in Innisfail, Canada by his community and descendants.

This Newspaper article suggest that he has a refurbished or CWGC headstone, and that his once forgotten grave is now on private land.

“In 2014, a Veterans headstone marker was placed on land just east of Innisfail in memory of Lance Cpl. Edgar Medley who died in 1918 as a result from his war wounds. After nearly 100 years, a permanent memorial was dedicated to his memory. Funded by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission, this was achieved through many hours of devoted work by locals David Hoar, Don Chalack and Johnnie Bachusky.” .

Even more clues to this forgotten British born hero of Alberta is given here:

Last weekend, hours before the season’s first big snowstorm hit, I took a small road trip southeast of Innisfail to look at a once abandoned gravesite, one that had been largely forgotten for nine decades.

This tranquil spot, in a small forest overlooking a creek valley, is the final resting place of Lance-Cpl. Edgar Medley. Once a prominent citizen who was a vice-president of the Innisfail Agriculture Society, Medley joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force’s 31st Battalion in the First World War. He was a decorated soldier and badly wounded in combat while serving with the army in France. Medley came home but died from his wounds on May 27, 1918. He left behind his wife Maude and daughters Catherine and Eileen.

His gravesite, the only one at the isolated location, is commemorated with a huge ornate headstone. Maude died in 1970 and her ashes were spread at the site. The property, meanwhile, changed hands many times. It is possible some of the owners over the years never knew about the gravesite. Certainly, the Canadian government did not know, nor did the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, an organization created by Royal Charter after the First World War to ensure worthy veterans were and still are properly commemorated.

But three years ago both organizations received a tip about Lance-Cpl. Medley and his gravesite. He has since been properly commemorated as a war casualty in the Canadian Book of Remembrance and the Canadian Virtual War Museum. He is the last Alberta soldier from the First World War to receive this honour. He is certainly a true hero.”

What is Edgar Francis Medley’s Connection to Devoran?

The slim  but very interesting Devoran connection on the CWGC website appears to be his mother Mrs Gifford Johnson of Devoran.

Although he was born in Britain, her son Edgar’s name is not recorded on the Devoran memorial as he has his own burial headstone in Canada. He is also remembered on the Oxford University Roll of Honour.

Edgar’s mother was born Katherine Frances Sinclair Scott in Malta, daughter of Robert C. Scott, an RN Naval Surgeon.


The possible Devoran connection may lie here.

Edgar Francis Medley had a sister Katherine Mary Ida Medley, who later married architect and WW1 Conscientious objector  T.S. (Thomas Simons) Attlee, the brother of British Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

Tom Attlee (1880-1960) moved to the relative obscurity of Perranwell, Cornwall in 1919 on discharge from jail as a “conchie” or C.O, living at Tullimaar and Leory Croft Perranwell near Devoran. Katherine’s decision (after her husbands Gifford’s death in 1921) to move to Devoran appears to be linked to her daughter and son-in-law living there.

More about Tom and Kathleen Attlee (Edgar’s sister) and a WEA connection to Winston Graham and that most Cornish of things, Poldark here:

This site mentions the shame that Kathleen Attlee suffered with a conchie Husband and decorated military uncles like Alexander


One of Edgar and Kathleen Medley’s decorated military uncles, WW1  Brigadier General Royal Garrison  Artillery Alexander Francis Sinclair Scott.

As a widow of F.W. Medley (Edgar’s father) Mrs Gifford Johnson had remarried in 1898,  the Reverend Gifford Henry Johnson (1859-1921). They had a son around 1900, Raymond Sinclair Johnson who enlisted in the Indian /  British Army and became a Brigadier General and MBE, dying in 1988.

The Gifford Johnsons lived variously in Richmond, Worthing (1901)  and Waltham Essex  (1911 Census), still as lodgers no doubt as a Reverend of clerk in holy orders.

Edgar’s stepfather, Reverend Gifford Henry Johnson served  as a Red Cross Orderly in France 19/4/15 to 16/1/16, Salonica from 17/1/16 to 15/12/16 and France agin from 5/2/17 to 3/4/18.  He appears to have received an MBE at some point. He died in Croydon in 1921.

Edgar Frances Medley  and family – Remembered 100 years on, Canada and Devoran.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project, Cornwall

Remembering Albert Ernest Crocker Penpol Devoran WW1 2 April 1918

Albert and Harry Crocker WW1

Albert Crocker (right) died in WW1, his brother Harry survived. (Photo courtesy of the family collection Graham Crocker, taken from Tony Dyson’s research)

Remebering Albert Ernest Crocker of Penpol, who died serving with the 7th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s   Light Infantry on 2 April 1918. He has no known grave and his name is listed on the Pozieres Memorial.

Reading the 7th Battalion War Diary for March to April 1918, many men of the 7th Battalion were listed as wounded, killed in action or missing after the March 1918 German Spring Offensive.

Albert was listed in Soldiers Died in The Great War (SDGW) as born at Paul (near Penzance?)  lived St. Feock and Residence at Penpol. He enlisted in Perranwell

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Albert Ernest Crocker’s name appears on the Devoran war memorial, names A to J , First World War

His name appears on the 1914 volunteers on the first draft of the Village Hall Roll of Honour – Crocker A.E. Private 10 DCLI.  He enlisted in  Perranwell.

Albert Crocker’s name appears on the final Village Hall Roll of Honour with the letters RIP alongside his name. A January 1915 newspaper report note said him as enlisted:


Photo by Gerry Costello of the Feock War Memorial

On the Lives of The First World War website, Albert’s name is also shown on the Feock War Memorial as well, in a photograph added by Gerry Costello:

Crocker as a local name appears frequently in Ralph and Marie Bird’s Devoran book. Albert’s father Samuel was listed as a Furnaceman on The 1911 Census, possibly in the smelter or industrial works that once graced Penpol, whilst Albert was listed as a farm labourer.

His brother Harry (R.H. Crocker) also served in WW1 and survived.

Other Crockers from Point near Devoran such as 31 year old tin smelter John Henry Crocker (b. 1884) served on and survived the war (10th Service Battalion DCLI “Cornwall Pioneers” and the Hants Regiment).

Tony Dyson’s research in 2007 notes that Albert Crocker is a cousin of two other Devoran casualties, George Francis Crocker and Richard Stephens. He notes him as born around 1895 in Paul, Penzance and by 1899 is on the register of Penpol Sunday School, aged 4.

His brother Harry also served in the DCLI and survived. Tony has Albert listed as the son of Samuel and Catherine Jane Crocker (nee Williams).

This last post was written  by Bob Richards for reading out during the 1st July 2016 WW1 centenary talk at Devoran Village Hall, whilst Albert’s picture was projected on the wall:

Remembering John Glanville Adams of Devoran died WW1 23 March 1918


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Devoran war memorial, names A to J , First World War

Private T/243064, John Glanville Adams, 7th Battalion Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, died in action  aged 30 on 23 March 1918.

He is remembered as a name on the wall panels of the Pozieres Memorial on the Somme in France to the missing thousands of the British Fifth Army in 1918, so has no known grave. Many of them were killed during the Kaiser’s Spring Offensive of March and April 1918, which saw thousands of Allied casualties and thousands taken prisoner. John Glanville Adams is likely to have been of these March 1918 casualties.

John Glanville Adams is listed in Soldiers Who Died In The Great War (SDGW) as Residence – Devoran, Cornwall but born in Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales. He enlisted into the Army at Bodmin, Cornwall in 1916  (most likely the DCLI barracks, now the Regimental Museum). His name appears in the 1916 section of the recently uncovered first draft of the Village / Parish Roll, suggesting that aged 28 in 1916 tha he attested (volunteer enlisted) or was eventually conscripted: Adams, J.G. Private W. Surreys

The 7th Service Battalion Queens Royal West Surreys lost over 50 other men on 23rd March 1918 besides Glanville Adams at what was known as the Battle of Saint Quentin, listed on the Pozieres Memorial  as having no known grave:

Although he died serving with the Queens, SDGW also mentions that he was first enrolled in the Essex Regiment 276911, and listed as killed in action, although later in his Soldiers Effects Listing (gratuitity paid to next of kin mother Emily) his death was “assumed”. Hence his appearance on the Pozieres Memorial to the Missing, rather than having a known grave.


Remembered in his home village on the Centenary of his death.

More about John Glanville Adams and family 

Although John was born in Swansea, Glamorganshire in Wales  in 1888 he appears to have grown up in Devoran. His father George Adams seems to have died when John was very young. Brother Ernest was born in  Devoran c. 1884 before the short lived move to Swansea. Wales is not such an unusual connection – Devoran area mines, docks and railway then had strong  links to the Welsh coalfields, smelting and shipping industry.

By 1891 his mother Emily (born 1852/3, Truro?) was listed as a widower with two young sons John Glanville and Ernest George at Bennett’s Ope on or near Market Street and Greenbank Terrace. Continue reading