1st July 1916 Battle of the Somme 2020 Lochnagar Crater memorial video

Lochnagar crater

This short 8 minute video for 1st July 2020 can be seen at https://lochnagarcrater.org/

1st July 2020: With the Covid-19 restrictions on travel and events, gatherings at memorials in France to the First Day of the Battle of The Somme on 1st July 1916 will be much quieter this year.

I was watching this short Vimeo video released at 07.28 this morning, designed to replace the commemoration at Lochnagar Crater on the Somme battlefields this year.

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It is almost 30 years since I visited this crater and the Somme battlefields.

At 07.28,  104 years ago to that moment, a chain of  British underground tunnels and mines such as Lochnagar crater filled with explosives were exploded under the German trench lines.

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The Underground War: one of the Somme’s deep mine craters at Lochnagar that I have visited, now preserved as a memorial to the Allied tunnelers (Image source: Wikipedia)

Two minutes later, thousands of British and Commonwealth troops would hear the officers’ whistles echoing along the trench lines, a signal to  emerge from their trenches.  They went  “over the top” in their thousands to be mown down by machine guns as they walked towards unbroken barbed wire and German machine gun posts undamaged by the week long bombardment of British artillery.

Almost 20,000 were killed, a further 40,000 were wounded. It was the single worst day for casualties in British Army history.

Many of those dead or wounded were from the Pals Battalions, citizen soldiers of the new Army, Kitchener Volunteers like many men from Devoran and across Cornwall.

In the subsequent four month long Battles of the Somme, two men whose names are on the Devoran war memorial were killed –

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/telling-the-story-of-ww1-through-devoran-war-memorial-casualty-lists-year-by-year-1916-to-1917/

18 July 1916 – Frederick (Gordon) Webb, Sapper, 155779, 179 Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers was killed above ground by shrapnel on 18 July 1916, aged 41. Somme.

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F Webb Gravestone , Albert Communal Cemetery Extension (Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

Sapper F.G. Webb,  a Tunneller’s Mate would have helped dig tunnels for the mines like Lochnagar Crater.

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Willie Davey on the Thiepval memorial database 

28 July 1916 – W.J.T. Davey, 10th DCLI Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, (the Cornwall Pioneers) Battle of the Somme.

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W.J.T. Davey has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial. (Image: http://www.cwgc.org.uk website)

Like many of the ‘Missing of the Somme’ Willie or William John Trebilcock Davey has no known grave, so is remembered at Thiepval Memorial. Thirty years ago when I visited Thiepval, long before I knew about him, Willie’s name would have been there high above me, just one amongst seventy thousand other names of the “Missing of the Somme”.

Willie Davey’s father Joseph Henry Webber Davey was a monumental mason but never had the chance to carve his son a headstone. If his father ever visited Thiepval, he would have appreciated the monumental amount of work that went on to produce and maintain Thiepval and its surrounding cemeteries full of thousands of named and unnamed headstones.

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Plaque in Carnon Downs Methodist Chapel to Willie W J T Davey (Image: Tony Dyson)

Instead, Willie also has this metal plaque at Carnon Downs Methodist Church.

The Third Man? 

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John Rubley Davies’ family headstone in a Portreath or Hayle churchyard. Cornwall. 

A third Devoran born man was killed during the Somme Battles but his name is not currently  on the Devoran war memorial. He had emigrated to Canada by the time of WW1. I am researching a new blog post on his background and Devoran connections at the moment as their are inaccuracies regarding his married status and family but John Rubley Davies deserves also to be remembered today on the Somme Anniversary.

The CWGC website records him as the son of Pascoe and Bessie Davies of Devoran.

12 September 1916 – Private John Rubley Davies, 8319, 2nd Battalion (Eastern Ontario), Canadian Infantry / Canadian Expeditionary Force  who died of wounds aged 23 on 12 September 1916.

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He is buried in the UK in Oxford Botley Cemetery, linked to the Oxford hospital where he died as a paraplegic from a spinal wound caused by shell fire or shrapnel on the Somme.

1st July 1916 / 2020 – Remembering the many Cornish men and their families amongst the hundreds of thousands of  Allied and German soldiers who served on the Somme Battlefields of 1916.

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https://lochnagarcrater.org/peace-and-reconciliation/the-lochnagar-promise-to-the-fallen/

Amen to that!

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial project, 1st July 2020

 

 

 

 

Devoran in WW2 1939-42 from the Parish Magazine – Yeo Ward 1939

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Some of the village life in wartime Devoran in WW2 can be glimpsed in Devoran’s entries from 1939 to 1942 in the local Parish Magazine collected or edited in Elizabeth Hotten’s Cornwall at War (History Press, 2008).

The Devoran entries appear likely to have been written by the Reverend Yeo Ward (1875-1965), vicar of Devoran from 1921-42. The Devoran entries cease in 1942. the year Yeo Ward retired.

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Yeo Ward’s headstone, Devoran Churchyard,  photographed 2020

Devoran October 1939 – [I have added explanations etc in square brackets]

“I did not anticipate when writing to you from Warrington that in a very brief time our country would be at war with Germany.

With a great many others, I thought that the Chancellor of the German people [Adolf Hitler] would have common sense, and try to find a peaceful solution of the problem between his country and Poland. Unfortunately he would not listen, his mind was bent on Force and Grab and so on Friday, 1st September [1939] he sent his bombing plsnes into Polish territory to massacre innocent people and children.

I suppose that no country has ever entered on a struggle with a clearer conscience than we have.

The German Chancellor  [Adolf Hitler] will go down in history as the arch criminal of mankind. He has shown, in every way recently, that his word, under no circumstances, can be trsuted; he has broken and violated every decency in the ways of Peace and War, and is justly considered to be the Public Enemy of Peace and Good Will.

We, with our ally France, have gone into this terrible conflict with the knowledge that what we are doing is right. Our statesmen [like Neville Chamberlain] have done everything to avoid this war, so we can say, as the Psalmist of old said – I laboured for peace, but they made themselves ready for battle. [Psalm 120, verse 7]

We know quite well the terrible sufferings this war will make. I feel perfectly confident that if those who laid down their lives in the last Great War could speak, they would say ‘we did our best to keep the flag of liberty flying, we kept the torch burning, and now it is up to you to do your best, and not to give in till you have crushed this spirit of Force and Grab.’ In conclusion may I quote our Cornish motto: One and all, at duty’s call, shoulder to shoulder, we stand or fall.”

Yeo Ward can make this claim for the local dead soldiers speaking as he  would have conducted the Armistice service every year since 1921, the year or two after the Devoran war memorial was dedicated. He would have known as his parishioners and his church congregation many these local families, whose names are on the WW1  memorial in his churchyard.

Who was  Yeo Ward and where was he in WW1?

Reverend Yeo Ward served as a civilian with the Young Men’s Christian Association YMCA in WW1 from July 1917 in France and Belgium. He was by now in his early forties, past call up age and in a reserved occupation as a clergyman.

When Yeo  Ward arrived as the new Vicar aged 46 in Devoran in 1921, the outgoing Vicar, Reverend  John R. Jones had served in a similar YMCA / Army chaplaincy role in Britain during the war.

https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/other-aspects-of-order-of-battle/ymca-british-volunteer-organisations-1914-1918/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2020/04/27/devorans-vicar-mr-jones-goes-to-war-ww1/

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Yeo Ward notes after the Plymouth Blitz of 1941 that he was an Old Plymouthian,

Yeo Ward came from a naval family, his father William P Ward being listed in the Plymouth 1901 Census at 10 Tothill Avenue, St Judes,  Plymouth as a Retired Inspector of Machinery Royal Navy (Naval Officer), born in Devonport. His mother Cordelia C. Ward was from Devonport. Yeo and his brother Harry were both Undergraduates at Cambridge University in their mid twenties. An older brother James P. S. Ward was a Surgeon, aged 33. They had three servants, a groom, cook and maid.

By 1907 he had arrived in Cornwall, his name first  appears in local Cornwall newspapers regarding church matters, especially in Truro. His name appears frequently  in the press over the next 35 years, especially from 1921-1942, mainly presiding at funerals and village events in Devoran.

In 1911 as a Clerk in Holy Orders, Yeo was living as a boarder at 9 Frances Street in Kenwyn, Truro as one of two boarders at the home of 69 year old widow Mrs. Mary E. Oxenham who ran a Fruit and Veg Shop.

He developed some Devoran church connections, having preached at Devoran in temporary place one Sunday place of the pre-WW1 Devoran vicar Reverend A. Williams (Royal Cornwall Gazette 14 April 1910)

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Western Morning News 01 January 1923

In October 1924 as Devoran vicar, he attended the induction of his brother William George Henry Ward who became perpetual curate at Marazion.

Yeo Ward in the 1939 Register lived in the Vicarage, Devoran surrounded by neighbours like the Tyacke, Edwards and Langdon families who were part of a hub of the well-off, well-connected, hard-working  ‘organising committee’ of village activities – Doctor, Vicar etc.

Yeo Ward, ARP Warden and Vicar, was unmarried, so  had a paid housekeeper Ellen D. Pope (b. 1887) and her husband Robert J Pope, (b. 1894, Mason’s? labourer and gardener).

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Yeo Ward was in the Phone Book in 1941 as the Vicarage, Devoran as ‘Perranarworthal 116.’

Yeo Ward was involved in wartime village life such as  The Village Hall Committee 1940/41. President Reverend Yeo Ward, Chairman Miss M.P. Tyacke; Hon Treasurer and Vice Chairman Mr W.W. Parsons etc.

In 1942 Yeo Ward retired and he was replaced by the Rev. W.H. Padget

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Western Morning News 19 October 1942

Yeo Ward may have been present on October 2nd 1942 in his last weeks at Bishop Hunkin’s donation of Lobb Brothers’ plants to the church of their youth https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2017/10/02/the-botanical-bishop-plants-the-lobb-garden-october-2nd-1942/

He died in retirement aged 90 on 18 March 1965 at Elm Cottage, Truro.

yeo ward probate

In the next blogpost we will feature more of the Devoran WW2 1939-42 entries in the local Parish Magazine, probably written by Reverend Yeo Ward as these entries stop in 1942 when he retired.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial research project, 23 June 2020.

 

Devoran Churchyard Headstones connected to WW1 and WW2

Devoran Churchyard is a fascinating place for history research – a ‘Census in Stone’ of its former inhabitants, where they lived and what they did, a record of the changing industry of the area.
There are a number of WW1 and WW2 related headstones in Devoran churchyard, though none of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) standard type seen at Feock churchyard and .http://thebignote.com/2016/01/11/feock-war-memorial-churchyard/

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This is the headstone for Devoran doctor throughout WW1 and WW2 Dr.Philip Hugh Edwards, his wife  Jessie Ann Rogers Edwards his wife and daughter Gladys Catherine Edwards who died aged 20 in 1919 – influenza?

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Her sister Gwendoline Mary Edwards (later Layton Blunt) was a WW1 Red Cross Ambulance Driver in France and was the GLB who created the Devoran Roll of Honour now in the Village Hall c. 1919/20. Gwendoline and her husband married in this church in 1917 after her return from France and she and Denzil both died out in Kenya c. 1967.

The Pascoe Family WW1

William Donald Pascoe is remembered with a military headstone at Cosham, his name on the Devoran War Memorial and Roll of Honour:

Gunner William Donald Pascoe, 86574, 13th Reserve Battery, Royal Field Artillery died on 20 April 1915, aged 19.

One of the first Devoran volunteers to die in WW1, of sickness during army training, William Donald Pascoe  is mentioned in several blog posts here:

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/devoran-soldiers-funeral-1915/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-k-to-p/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/remembering-william-donald-pascoe-died-20-april-1915/

In 1911, his occupation is given as a ‘newsboy’. Bob Richards’ newspaper research (West Briton, 29 April 1915) indicates that he died of “cerebro-spinal fever” and was formerly an apprentice at W. Visick’s and Sons, Basset Works, Devoran. He was also a  member of the church and several village societies.

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William’s military headstone at Cosham (Photo of grave: TWGPP)

William Donald Pascoe is also remembered on his father’s / family headstone:

Son William Donald Pascoe RFA (Royal Field Artillery)  “who died at Cosham, April 20 1915 aged 18 and a half.”

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The Pascoe family grave, Devoran churchyard April 2015 (Image: Mark Norris)

Photographer ‘Magic Fingers’ on the excellent Bignote.com website ‘With the British Army in Flanders and France’  also features the Pascoe family grave and footer memorial to one of William’s younger sisters Lilian Annie Standford, nee Pascoe  (1901-1990).

William’s father William Williams Pascoe the village Postman (born St. Agnes, 1869)  died aged 59 in 1928. His wife Alice Mary Pascoe (nee Dingle, born St Gluvias, Penryn)  died aged 84 in 1955. The family lived on Market Street in Devoran.

Younger sister Neitta May Pascoe the WW1 Land Girl is buried nearby as Neitta May Jeffrey (see below).

His younger WW1 Royal Navy brother Llewellyn Maxwell Pascoe (1900-1982) must be buried elsewhere in the churchyard or beyond, maybe in Perranporth where he retired from the Navy.

 

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Pascoe headstone Devoran churchyard 2012 by Magic Fingers at thebignote.com http://thebignote.com/2012/10/10/devoran-church-of-st-john-and-st-petroc-war-memorial/

http://thebignote.com/2012/10/10/devoran-church-of-st-john-and-st-petroc-war-memorial/

Bob Richards the local historian wrote this family monologue for the 2016 Somme centenary WW1 talk that we did in Devoran Village Hall: https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2016/11/05/william-donald-pascoe/

Donald’s WW1  Land Army  sister Neitta May Pascoe is remembered on another headstone elsewhere in the churchyard:

The Pascoe / Jeffery family WW1 

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Neitta May Pascoe married Percy Jeffery on his return from WW1. He was born c. 1893 and died aged 79 years old in 1972.

Neitta May Pascoe, William’s younger sister was born c. 1898/99 and died on 16th July 1995, aged 1995.

They had two children, Donald Jeffery and Barbara Jeffery.

In June 1917, the Devoran parish magazine notes that “Miss Netta Pascoe, part of the Girl’s Guild” at the Devoran Church “has left home to take up farm work under the National Service Scheme“, a forerunner of the WLA ‘Land Girls’ in WW2.

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/life-in-wartime-devoran-in-world-war-1/  

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2020/04/22/what-did-women-do-in-devoran-in-ww1/

 

Her unusual first name Neitta, Nietta or Netta seems to be spelt differently on official documents throughout her life.

Michell or Hichens Family

This unusual memorial to several Hichens or Michell family members caught my eye but sadly many of the lead letters are now missing.

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Dunstan Family

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The Dunstan family grave

Juliana Dunstan (1869-1944) is buried here, “widow of William John Dunstan Late of this Parish”, a Devoran sailor who died in an accident at sea on HMS or HMT Armed Trawler Pintail whilst minesweeping in December 1917 during WW1.

William John Dunstan is buried in France but is also remembered in Devoran on the War Memorial, Roll of Honour and most touchingly on the headstone of his son William Edwin Kean Dunstan (1906-1999).  https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/remembering-william-john-dunstan-devoran-ww1-died-accident-at-sea-24-december-1917/

The CWGC website lists William John Dunstan  as husband of Juliana Dunstan of 6 Chapel Terrace, Devoran. Juliana was born in 1871 in Truro. The couple married in 1903 and had two children, both born in Devoran, Florence May Dunstan (b. 1905) and William Edwin Kean Dunstan (b. 1907).

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/325612/dunstan,-william-john/

His great-granddaughter Beverley Prowse and family contacted me through the comments and talked about visiting the war memorial with her “Grandad Eddie” (William Edwin Kean Dunstan). Eddie married Phyllis May Datson  and they had three children Iris, Ann and Richard Dunstan: https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/remembering-william-john-dunstan-devoran-ww1-died-accident-at-sea-24-december-1917/

William John Dunstan  was born in Hayle, Phillick (Phillack?) in Cornwall in 1874. In the 1911 census he is listed as “Fireman Steamship” living with the family at Chapel Terrace, Devoran.

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William John Dunstan’s signature on this 1911 Census return for his family living at Chapel Terrace.

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1939 Register – Chapel Terrace, Devoran – The Dunstan Household. Neighbour Percy Hawke was in the Home Guard, not yet formed in 1939

1939 – Juliana Dunstan b. 27 September 1869 – widowed

William E K Dunstan b. 26 July 1906 – married. Tailsman to Band Mill

Phyllis M Dunstan – b. 8 June 1913 – married

This shows that a good headstone in a churchyard, in fact a good well maintained churchyard really is a ‘Census in Stone’ for a village.

 

The White Family of Devoran WW1 

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The White family headstone (Devoran Churchyard, 2019)

Retired prison officer, “William Henry White of Carnon Gate Devoran Died 6th October 1921 Aged  74″

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His son “Private Henry Cecil White son of the above died at St. Pol Hospital, France, November 2nd 1918 aged 33 Years.  The inscription reads “He giveth his beloved Sleep”

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Henry Cecil White’s entry in the British Army Register of Soldier’s Effects, having his service pay and any War Gratuity paid to his father William Henry White.

 

Henry Cecil White (1885-1918) had a twin brother William Charles White also born on April 22, 1885 in Dorset. Both worked as youngsters in a local foundry.

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-q-to-z/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2018/10/31/remembering-h-c-white-of-devoran-died-ww1-31-october-1918/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2020/06/05/telling-the-story-of-ww1-through-devoran-war-memorial-casualty-lists-year-by-year-1918-to-1919/

Other interesting gravestones with WW1 and WW2 connections: 

There are a number of people buried in the churchyard who crop up as names in newspaper cuttings and events in Devoran in WW1 and WW2.

The Reverend Yeo Ward – Devoran’s vicar in WW2 

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Yeo Ward, Devoran’s vicar  from 1921 to 1942 including the early part of WW2

“In Loving Memory of The Rev. Yeo Ward M.A. Died 18th March 1965 in his 90th Year. Vicar of Devoran 1921-1942” 

Reverend Yeo Ward (1875-1965) was Devoran’s vicar from 1921-1942 including the early part of WW2. He was also listed in the 1939 Register in the ARP as an Air Raid Warden. He may have written some of the Devoran entries in WW2 in the Parish magazines quoted in Elizabeth Hotten’s Cornwall at War (Truran 2007/8). These entries finish in 1942, aroubd the time Yeo Ward retired.

Yeo Ward  took over as Devoran’s  vicar in 1921 from Revd. J. R. Jones, who had served in Devoran from mid WW1 and as a forces chaplain during WW1. Mr Jones took over from the Reverend Dr. Macdonald who was Devoran vicar at the start of WW1 (see William Donald Pascoe’s funeral press cutting in 1915): https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2020/04/27/devorans-vicar-mr-jones-goes-to-war-ww1/

The Tyacke family 

Railways, Guiding  and Fundraising

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The headstone of railway manager J.F.Tyacke and his wife Philippa.

Joseph Frederick Tyacke Died September 28th 1931 aged 71 years RIP 

also Philippa Grylls  [Tyacke] Wife of the Above  Died August 1955 Aged 89 Years.

J.F. Tyacke was in the 1911 Census the Railway Superintendent (or Manager) of the Redruth and Chasewater Railway in its declining years until it was closed in 1915/6 and helped organised its selling off of waggon stock, rails etc as scrap metal in 1918.

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May 1918 local press cutting regarding J.F. Tyacke’s job in closing and selling off the Redruth and Chasewater Railway. 

The Tyacke family are well worth a future blog post to themselves. There is also a local Tyack family with no ‘e’.

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Their daughter Miss M.P. Tyacke

Miss M.P. Tyacke  (Mary Phyllis or Philippa Tyacke),  born September 10th 1891, died December 30th 1962. She was a VAD nurse in WW1, after WW1 she was an early Guide Captain for the County and involved in many societies including the Women’s Institute (W.I.) In WW2, she was very active in fundraising for the village.  In 1901 she and her mother and father were living at Devoran House. By 1939, the 1939 Register records that they had moved over the road, next door to the Vicarage at Treviddo. She was still registered aged 48  as available in WW2 for VAD Nursing.

mary phyllis tyacke ww1 devoran VAD 1

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2020/04/23/women-of-devoran-nursing-in-ww1-bin-the-red-cross-archive/

William R. Cock,  Headteacher at Devoran School in WW1 

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“In Loving Memory of William Richards Cock Died 22 May 1931, aged 62 years RIP.

Also his wife Elizabeth Pearce Cock died 18 April 1951 aged 83.”

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Probate for William Richards Cock 1931

In 1901 they all lived at [St. James?] St Johns Terrace.

Dorothea Enid Guinevere Cock, their splendidly named daughter was born c. 1900/01 and married a Mr E.T. Dillon, a name that crops up in the local papers as involved with various clubs and societies.

Mr Cock is frequently seen or mentioned  as church organist, choir master, scout leader, and headteacher in various group shots in Ralph and Marie Bird’s photographic history of  the area Devoran and Its River. William  would have known many of the men and former pupils who served in WW1.

As an older married man and a school Headteacher,  he was too old to serve in WW1 and in a more protected employment position.

Again Mr W.R. Cock is a person or family well worth a blog post of their own in future.

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Long serving Devoran Head Teacher William R. Cock at the presentation of the playing field, September  1919

World War Two Casualties 

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The cleaned up Devoran War Memorial panel for WW2 2019/20

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The Brabyn family grave, Devoran Churchyard

“In loving memory of Charles Brabyn Drowned on Active Service Sept 1939 Aged 49 also his wife Elizabeth Mills Brabyn died June 3rd 1971 aged 81”

Charles Brabyn was a WW1 Royal Navy sailor, a shipwright who died on active service in 17th September 1939 on an aircraft carrier HMS Courageous in the opening weeks of WW2.

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/devoran-second-world-war-casualties-a-to-r/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/charles-brabyn-of-point-devoran-and-the-sinking-of-the-hms-courageous-17-september-1939-ww2-80-years-on/

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Putting a face to a headstone – Charles Brabyn (photograph c/o Brabyn relatives collected by Tony Dyson in his 2007 research)

Another navy related death of a Devoran man is recorded here at sea:

In Loving Memory of Ruby (Ruth) Louvain Toms Died 19th January 1998, Aged 82 years. Widow of Joseph William Toms RN. Beloved Mother and Grandmother “Under the shadow of Thy wings shall be my refuge”

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Joseph William Toms (died Royal Navy WW2) and his wife’s grave

Able Seaman Joseph William Toms, D/SSX17063 Royal Navy, died onboard HMS Galatea on 15 December 1941, aged 23. He is commemorated at panel 48, column 3 Plymouth Naval Memorial. He has no known grave.

HMS Galatea was sunk by a German U-boat (submarine) off Egypt with the loss of 22 officers and 447 ratings like J.W. Toms. Only 100 men survived. HMS Galatea has a websitehttp://www.yourtotalevent.com/events/galatea.htm

CWGC entry: He was the son of Harry and Mary Toms (1873-1955); husband of Ruby Louvain Toms (1916-98, nee Peachey), of Truro, Cornwall.

His 75th Anniversary Blogpost:

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2016/12/14/1763/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/devoran-second-world-war-casualties-s-to-z/

Interestingly both Devoran sailors are commemorated here on their family graves as they were lost at sea and have “no known grave but the sea”. They are both remembered on the WW2 naval memorial at Plymouth.

William Walter Parsons – WW2 Air Raid Warden in Devoran 

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W.W.G. Parsons, Devoran Air Raid Warden in WW2j

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1939 Register for Belmont Terrace including Herbert J Martin, sculptor of the War memorial and Irene and Walter W. Parsons Cornwall Council Clerk and Air Raid Warden, Marion Head wife of WW2 Sailor casualty William Head.

Born 7th May 1895, William Walter Gilbert Parsons (sometimes written as Walter William Parsons) is not listed on the Devoran Roll of Honour (as having served in WW1 whilst living in Devoran Parish).   He served in WW2 as one of the local Air Raid Wardens whilst also working for Cornwall Council as its Chief Audit Clerk

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2020/05/05/devoran-in-may-1940-ww2/

His name crops up frequently in the local press as the M.C. Master of Ceremonies, Secretary or Treasurer for various Devoran societies and clubs including the Devoran Village Hall ( an important asset for many groups in wartime from jam making to dances) and Devoran Cricket Club in the 1920s and 1930s, a team for which he also played. His wife ‘Mrs W.W. Parsons’ or Irene Eleanor Hore (b.1897, St Clement, Truro) is mentioned in Village Hall fundraising in the 1920s for presenting prizes and her excellent dancing.

This section of the 1939 WW2 Register  for Belmont Terrace Devoran lists several interesting people including:

Herbert J. Martin, sculptor of the War memorial https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-k-to-p/

Irene and Walter W. Parsons Cornwall Council Clerk and Air Raid Warden,

Marion (Rowe) Head,  wife of WW2 Sailor casualty William Head. https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/devoran-second-world-war-casualties-a-to-r/

Emily Dingle, born 30 April 1878 who crops up as a “VAD Nurse Red Cross Detachment” in WW1 and may still be so in WW2 at 61 years old! https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2020/04/23/women-of-devoran-nursing-in-ww1-bin-the-red-cross-archive/

Herbert J. Martin the sculptor of the Devoran War Memorial who lived in Belmont Terrace has several other examples of his work as a Monumental Mason in Devoran churchyard.

hj martin signature in stone

Herbert’s ‘signature in stone’ on the broken Hodge(s) headstone. the white mightb be the original unweathered stone colour.

“Herbert J. Martin Devoran” – as one of the local monumental masons, he  designed several quite elaborate graves in Devoran churchyard.

hodges example of hj martin work

herbert j martin second example

A Kellow family grave to their young daughter, early 1900s, another of Herbert J. Martin’s monumental mason work. 

Herbert J. Martin’s own 1950s headstone for Herbert and wife Hilda was quite plain.

herbert j martin headstone

It looks as if the headstone has become detached and laid flat in the past for safety.

Some of the older 19th century headstones are hard to read with the combined weathering effects of time, rainwater and lichen on the stone. As a living churchyard, part of a wider movement to use cemeteries as nature reserves, some of the oldest graves to the rear and edge are a little overgrown in places in summer but I will look again after Lockdown in winter when the wildflowers  and plants die back.

So there we are just a few of the Devoran names from the WW1 and WW2 period in Devoran Churchyard in our ‘census in stone’.

 

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial research project, June 2020

 

 

Telling the Story of WW1 Through Devoran War Memorial Casualty Lists Year by Year 1918 to 1919

dev war mem 2019

Post 3: 1918-1919

You can tell much of the story and events of WW1 by studying the average town or village war memorial.
As Russian writer Tolstoy wrote, “If you want to paint the world, paint your own village.”

The local war memorial can tell the story of a global world war.

In the first post we covered Devoran casualties from 1914 and 1915:
https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2020/05/20/telling-the-story-of-ww1-through-devoran-war-memorial-casualty-lists-year-by-year-1914-to-1915/

In the second post we covered Devoran Casualties from 1916 and 1917: https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/telling-the-story-of-ww1-through-devoran-war-memorial-casualty-lists-year-by-year-1916-to-1917/

In this post we will look at the Devoran parish men who died fighting in 1918 and those who died  after the war from ill health in 1919.

1918

Timeline: https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/World-War-1-Timeline-1918/

In terms of Devoran men who were soldiers in the British Army, surprisingly no Devoran soldiers were killed between the Battle of Arras in Easter 1917 and the surprise breakthroughs of the Spring Offensive by the German Army in March 1918.

This is a surprise because the long, bloody and muddy Battle of Third Ypres or Passchendaele took place in Autumn 1917.  Many Devoran men may have been involved and some no doubt were wounded, but thankfully there were no direct deaths.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwone/battle_passchendaele.shtml

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Passchendaele

cwgc Pozieres mem

Pozieres Memorial to the Missing (Image; http://www.cwgc.org)

Pozieres memorial walls to the missing of these March April 1918 battles where John Glanville Adams and Albert Crocker are commemorated.

The Spring Offensive March 1918

Two Devoran men were killed in this battle or the chaos of this German breakthrough after three years of trench warfare stalemate. (My own 18 year old great-uncle was killed in these battles.)

On 21st March, 1918 ‘Operation Michael’ began. The German army using new specially trained stormtrooper tactics broke through British and French trench lines and pushed a long way back into the rear support lines and beyond.

Years of trench warfare and slow advance at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives were undone in a day or two by this seemingly unstoppable German advance.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_Offensive

https://www.cwgc.org/history-and-archives/first-world-war/campaigns/western-front/german-spring-offensive

https://www.cwgc.org/history-and-archives/first-world-war/campaigns/western-front/german-spring-offensive/operation-michael

The first offensive was codenamed Operation Michael, March 21st 1918 the first day of which remains the second worst day of losses in British military history. The first worst day was the first day of the battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916.

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Private T/243064, John Glanville Adams, 7th Battalion Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, died in action at the Battle of St. Quentin aged 30 on 23 March 1918. https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2018/03/23/remembering-john-glanville-adams-of-devoran-died-ww1-23-march-1918/

Albert Ernest Crocker died 2 April 1918, 7th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (DCLI) https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2018/04/02/remembering-albert-ernest-crocker-penpol-devoran-ww1-2-april-1918/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-names-a-to-c/

 

Both Devoran men are remembered on the Pozieres Memorial to the missing from these March to August 1918 battles who have no known graves. 

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)

Why did the German Spring Offensive happen in March 1918? 

With Britain’s WW1 ally Russia out of the War after the Russian Revolution in late 1917, Germany released lots of troops from the Eastern Front who were previously fighting the Russians. These battle hardened troops moved to the Western Front, hoping to strike a blow before enough American forces were trained, equipped and shipped to France. The American troops did not fight a major battle until 28 May 1918, almost a year after America joined the war.

America had entered the war in April 1917 on Britain and France’s side against Geramny in 1917, partly as a result of German submarine attacks on  American shipping.

ww1 ration book

WW1 adult (brown) and child (green) British ration books 1918 (from the author’s collection)

The ration book covers (see point 3 on child’s ration book) ” … butcher’s meat, bacon, butter and margarine, sugar and tea …”

Food rationing began on February 25th 1918, rolled out by the Food Controller across Britain  – at first meat, butter and margarine were rationed, later sugar and tea. People were encouraged by the newspapers, propaganda posters and the King himself to eat less bread. The food shortages were partly due to poor harvests, many agricultural workers and horses conscripted into the army,  feeding entire  armies and also submarine warfare sinking merchant and cargo ships.

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/eat-less-bread-by-royal-proclamation-may-1917/

The Devoran connection to food shortages  rationing? 

February 1917, Women’s Land Army formed – Neitta or Nietta May Pascoe now on farm work, serving her country like her brothers Maxwell Pascoe (Royal Navy) and William Donald Pascoe (died during army training – see 1914/15 post)

Two Devoran sailors had died in 1915 and 1917 either in merchant shipping sunk by submarine, George F. Crocker 1915 (SS Ocean Prince) and William John Dunstan in minesweepers (HMT Pintail, armed trawlers) keeping the shipping lanes free of mines and submarines.

1 April 1918 – Birthday of the RAF 
The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) are merged to form the Royal Air Force. The Royal Air Force (RAF) was renamed from the Royal Flying Corps.

The Royal Flying Corps was formed pre-war  in April 1912.  When Devoran men went to war at sea or on land in 1914, they would have volunteered for the British Army or the Royal Navy –  the British air force or RFC barely existed.

Two 1918 casualties from Devoran William Thomas Ball Paters (early RFC kite balloon section, transferred and died August 1918 fighting in France as infantry) and George F. Rogers (drowned in an accident whilst training in Egypt) had connections with the RAF and RFC.

The RNAS had airship stations and seaplane stations across Cornwall at Mullion, Padstow, Newlyn and Tresco.

Pete London’s book Cornwall in the First World War (Truran, 2013), his Cornwall WW1 blog https://petelondon.blogspot.com/2014/09/cornwall-in-first-world-war_4.html posts and his interview BBC World War One at Home series https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01s2mxj

There is still an RNAS station at Culdrose in Helston, opened in WW2 / the 1940s.

 

The 100 Days from 8 August 1918 to 11th November 1918 
Start of the Battle of Amiens, the opening phase of the Allied Hundred Days Offensive, that will ultimately lead to the end of World War I. Allied armoured divisions of tanks and infantry smash through the once impregnable German trenches.

German General Erich Ludendorff called the 8th August 1918  “the black day of the German Army.”

Devoran men William Thomas Ball  Peters and Henry Cecil White died in France  in these final battles. Both died of wounds and are buried in hospital related cemeteries in France.

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William Thomas Ball Peters

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

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/remembering-william-thomas-ball-peters-of-carnon-downs-died-of-wounds-ww1-27-august-1918/
William 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.

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-k-to-p/

From the RFC Kite Balloons to the Sherwood Foresters  

William’s career tells its own interesting story about WW1.  Before his transfer from one part of  the British Army the Royal Flying Corps to another, the Notts and Derby Regiment (‘Sherwood Foresters’), he  had an unusual 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.

“Each balloon, which was maintained and tethered by a team of 48 highly-trained men, carried two passengers, known light-heartedly as ‘balloonatics‘ – a commander and an observer, who, via a telegraph wire down to the ground would send back information on troop formations and artillery locations.” (Mary Evans Balloonatics blog post)

Kite Balloon  were not only highly explosive,  being made of flammable hydrogen gas but also vulnerable to attack by German airplanes. A sitting target, the ballonatic crew were issued early parachutes, included in Kite Balloons long before their widespread use in airplanes.

Curiously, this kite balloon technology was still in use locally in the Devoran area in WW2. In 1944, the successor to the RFC,  the RAF had 959 Squadron which operated the balloon barrage in Falmouth through the war. In 1944 this RAF Squadron built a hydrogen gas plant in what is now the industrial units at Devoran to make hydrogen gas for unmanned barrage balloons as aerial protection the build up of troops and shipping around local creeks and rivers ready for D-Day in 1944.

William Peters joined or volunteered for the RFC on 11 / 12 November 1915 at South Farnborough and undertook his RFC training in December 1915 at Hare Park Camp, Curragh in Ireland, an RFC training depot. He served in the RFC (still part of the British Army until 1918) until 8 March 1916 when he was transferred into the Sherwood Foresters in France. This may have been due to a need for more men for big battles like the Somme or the declining use of vulnerable Kite Balloons as aerial warfare changed.

Henry Cecil White

Private 215895, Henry Cecil White, 745 Area Employment Company, Labour Corps who died of sickness, 31 October 1918, aged 33.

White is buried at II.C.16, St. Pol British Cemetery, St. Pol-sur-Ternoise, France. This cemetery was linked to No.12 Stationary Hospital.

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/591470/white,-/

Without having seen the death certificate, there is a possibility it was pneumonia or influenza. Where recorded, large numbers of the casulaties in this St. Pol cemetery who did not die of woulds, died of pneumonia or influenza late in the closing months of the war.

White_H

H C White headstone St Pol British Cemetery (Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

 

The Labour Corps of the British Army

The Labour Corps was formed in 1917 and employed 325,000 British troops, 98,000 Chinese, 10,000 Africans and at least 300,000 other labourers. It lasted until 1921. It was made up of men that had been in the front line and who had been either wounded or taken ill and could not be returned to the front or men who, on enlistment, were found to be too old or did not pass as fit enough to be sent to the front.

They completed a range of engineering tasks and after the war, mostly  battle field clearance including reburials.

 

Two weeks  later after Henry’s death, by which time his parents in Devoran would have received the officail death telegram, the First World War ended.

The Armistice was signed on 11th November 1918. I have not yet found mention or records of how the day was marked in Devoran. As in the rest of Britain and the Empire,  some would have celebrated this day of peace, others observed it in mourning their lost family and friends.

There were still two more Devoran men to die of wounds or illness in 1919.

1919

Post-war Deaths – Died of wounds or Spanish Flu pandemic? 

16th January 1919 – Gladys Catherine (‘Jimmy’) Rogers dies aged only 20 at The Driffold, Devoran Lane, (now Edwards’ House), daughter of the local Doctor in  Devoran, she is the sister of Devoran Red Cross ambulance driver Gwendoline Mary Edwards, (later Layton Blunt)  – possibly in view of her young age and the 1919/20 date, influenza or pneumonia?

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Western Morning News (18 January 1919)

Although the war was over, two Devoran men died in 1919 in hospital as a result of war service. one died in Britain, one died in Egypt.

RjBilkey WW1

R J Bilkey (pictured L in Cairo and R. Alexandria with sergeant stripes) from the family collection of Josephine Lilly, a niece of Richard Bilkey. Taken from Tony Dyson’s 2007 research

 

31st January 1919 – Richard John Bilkey, DCLI died in hospital in Egypt https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2019/01/31/remembering-richard-john-bilkey-of-devoran-died-31st-january-1919/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-names-a-to-c/

 

rstephens ww1

R. Stephens image (Courtesy of Graham Crocker / Tony Dyson)

7th February 1919 – Richard Stephens, Royal Naval Reserve, died naval Hospital at Haslar, Southampton – buried in Feock. Richard Stephens  was one of Devoran’s few officers, most of Devoran’s army men were privates and NCOs (Other Ranks). https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2019/02/07/remembering-richard-stephens-of-devoran-died-ww1-on-7-february-1919/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-q-to-z/

Stephens_R

R Stephens non-military headstone, Feock Churchyard (Image Copyright: TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

1919 – British troops and sailors would start to be demobbed (demobilised) and the volunteers and conscripted men (and women) of Devoran slowly came home. Some would have suffered physical or mental health problems or “shellshock” (now known as  PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) for years afterwards.

1919 – The Devoran War Memorial Grounds (Devoran Park)  given to Devoran by Viscount Clifden.

1919/20 – War memorial completed by Armistice Day / Remembrance Sunday November 1920

1919/20 – Roll of Honour for the Village Hall completed by GLB Gwendoline Mary Layton Blunt (formerly / nee Edwards). https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2019/01/16/coming-home-devoran-1919y/

Blogposted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Research project, 2/3  June 2020

 

 

 

 

Telling the Story of WW1 Through Devoran War Memorial Casualty Lists Year by Year 1916 to 1917

 

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Devoran War Memorial 2019

You can tell much of the story and events of WW1 by studying the average town or village war memorial.

As Russian writer Tolstoy wrote, “If you want to paint the world, paint your own village.”
The local war memorial can tell the story of a global world war. In the first post we covered Devoran casualties from 1914 and 1915:

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2020/05/20/telling-the-story-of-ww1-through-devoran-war-memorial-casualty-lists-year-by-year-1914-to-1915/

In this post we feature Devoran casualties in 1916 and 1917 at the disastrous trench battles in 1916 of the Somme, 1917 Arras and Passchendaele, as well as at sea, in other theatres of war  such as Greece and the Middle East (Yemen).

1916

Timeline: https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/World-War-1-Timeline-1916/

The stalemate of trench warfare continues. Kitchener’s New Armies and the Pals battalions  are in training for the ‘Big Push’, which will become known as the Battle of The Somme. 

The German submarine menace continues to the Royal Navy and merchant shipping. Battle of Jutland fought at sea 31 May – 1 June 1916 between the British and the German navies. This battle may have involved Devoran’s many Royal Navy sailors.

27 January 1916 – Military Service Act – Conscription is introduced for men in Britain. More Devoran men will have to join up or plead their case at a conscription tribunal.

JOHNSON J DETAIL

12 April 1916 – James Johnson died of dysentery, 1/4 Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (DCLI), defending Aden against the Turkish Army (buried at Maala, now modern Yemen)

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-d-to-j/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/remembering-james-johnson-dcli-of-devoran-died-12-april-1916/

 

Battle of The Somme 1st July 1916 – 18 November 1916

Many Devoran volunteers from 1914 and 1915 would have been involved in this battle. Thankfully only two or three were killed.

Nearly 20,000 British were killed on the first day and 40,000 British wounded. The months long battle went on to kill 420,000 British and Allied troops. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Somme

webb_f ww1

18 July 1916 – Frederick (Gordon) Webb, Sapper, 155779, 179 Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers was killed on 18 July 1916, aged 41. Somme. 

Frederick Webb was part of the effort during the Somme battles to explode large underground tunnel mines under the German trenches – Webb was killed above ground. Webb was a Tunneler’s Mate and was “killed by enemy shrapnel whilst returning to billet after relief. Davey wounded.” Webb is buried in Albert Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme.

W.J.T. Davey has no known grave and is remembered as a carved name on the Thiepval Memorial. (Image: http://www.cwgc.org.uk website). Ironically Willie Davey’s father was a monumental mason.

28 July 1916 – W.J.T. Davey,  10th DCLI Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, Somme -no known grave, remembered at Thiepval Memorial

Gardener Willie Davey served with the 10th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry,  known as the Cornwall Pioneers. On 16 July 1916 through to 7 November 1917, the 10th DCLI  temporarily attached as Pioneers to 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division. It is not known how he died on the 28th July 1016. Like many on the Somme, he has no known grave and his name is recorded amongst 70,000 (thousand) others on the Thiepval memorial.

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-d-to-j/

What did Pioneer Units like the 10th DCLI Cornwall Pioneers do?

“Historically, British infantry regiments maintained small units of pioneers for heavy work and engineering, especially for clearing paths through forests and for leading assaults on fortifications. These units evolved into assault pioneers. They also inspired the creation of the Royal Pioneer Corps.”
“During World War I, on paper at least, each division was allocated a pioneer infantry battalion, who in addition to being trained infantry were able to conduct pioneer duties. These pioneer battalions were raised and numbered within the existing infantry regiments; where possible recruits were men who possessed transferable skills from civilian life.”

Trench building and repair would have been part of their tasks.

Reference WW1 pioneers in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_(military)

 

15 Sept 1916 – Tanks are introduced for the first time on the Somme battlefield by the British. They are used in such limited numbers that they have little effect at first. https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/was-the-tank-in-ww1-named-after-a-devoran-engineer-thomas-tank-burall/

Another Devoran born casualty of the Somme? 

davies J R

12 September 1916 – Private John Rubley Davies, 8319, 2nd Battalion (Eastern Ontario), Canadian Infantry / Canadian Expeditionary Force  who died of wounds aged 23 on 12 September 1916.

His name is not on the Devoran War Memorial or the Parish Roll of Honour. He had  emigrated as a farmer to Uxbridge, Ontario in Canada in 1913. https://soldiersofuxbridge.wordpress.com/those-that-served-index/davies-john-rubley-1893/

He appears in some sources to have married a local Cornish girl called Hettie in Porteath https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/58165831/john-rubley-davies

On 2nd September 1916 he was “Fatally wounded, shell wound spine” in the trenches at Pozieres in France and sent to several hospitals in France and Oxford. He is buried in Britain at the Oxford Botley Cemetery, one linked to the 3rd Southern General Hospital Oxford.
He is listed as the son of Pascoe and Bessie Davies of Devoran and was born at Devoran, Cornwall c. 1893.

He is remembered on his aunt’s gravestone at Portreath, Cornwall:

https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/canadian-virtual-war-memorial/detail/393007

1917 – fourth year of the war

Timeline: https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/World-War-1-Timeline-1917/

In 1917 Devoran would lose four more men, one soldier at Arras,  one sailor fighting on land at Arras, one sailor in an accident at sea and one soldier fighting far away in Greece and Balkans.

1st February 1917 – Devoran sailors are more at risk now as Germany resumes unrestricted U-boat submarine warfare. All allied and neutral ships are to be sunk on sight. Over the next month close to a million tons of shipping would be lost.  From 27 April 1917, Royal Navy adopts the convoy system tasked to protect merchant ships destined for Britain.

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J P Paynter’s headstone, Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece (Image copyright: TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

30th March 1917 – James Pearce Paynter,  11th battalion, Warwickshire Regiment, Doiran Front, Greece

James died fighting with his regiment against the Bulgarians on the Doiran front in Macedonia. He is buried at  Karasouli Military Cemetrey, Greece. This cemetery was linked to Casualty Clearing stations on the Doiran Front in Greece and Serbia

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-k-to-p/

Centenary blogpost – https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/remembering-james-pearce-paynter-died-ww1-30-march-1917/

 

Battle of Arras April 1917

The Battle of Arras was commemorated in 2017 by centenary events hosted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.http://blog.cwgc.org/arras/

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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.

9th April 1917 – Rifleman Percy Archibald Sweet 474189 of the 12th London Regiment (The Rangers), Neuville-Vitasse, France 

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/other-devoran-related-wartime-casualties-and-a-wartime-marriage/

Percy Sweet’s name was added to the Devoran memorial in 2014.

Percy’s Centenary blogpost – https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/remembering-percy-sweet-killed-battle-of-arras-9-april-1917-ww1/

 

18 April 1917 – James Edwin Hitchens, Hawke Battalion, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Arras Memorial  https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-d-to-j/

James Hitchens – Centenary Blogpost 2017 – https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2017/04/18/remembering-james-edwin-hitchens-of-devoran-died-arras-ww1-18-april-1917/

31st July to 6th November 1917 – The main offensive of the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) begins. Allies suffer tens of thousands of casaulties. Many Devoran soldiers would have fought in this battle but thankfully none were killed.

Dunstan_WJ (2)

William Dunstan’s grave in Brest Kerfautras Cemetery, France (Image copyright: TWGPP / CWGC, the War Graves Photographic Project) this probably should read HMT for His Majesty’s Trawler Pintail

24th December 1917 – sailor Engineman William John Dunstan, Royal Naval Reserve, HM Trawler Pintail, buried at Finisterre in France.

William died aged 45 as a result of an accident at sea whilst serving on HM Her Majesty’s Trawler Pintail. His life and death tell an interesting tale of Devoran past as a port or harbour, then of the war at sea, keeping the sea clear of enemy mines.

In the 1911 census William Dunstan of Chapel Terrace Devoran was working  as a “Fireman Steamship” aboard the SS (Steam Ship) Erimus alongside other Devoran men.

The Steam Ship Erimus was a frequent visitor to Devoran Quay until its declining final days.

Effectively Devoran Docks  closed in 1915/16 alongside the Redruth and Chasewater Railway (the ‘Devoran’ Railway)  in WW1. This may be why William volunteered or enlisted in the Navy trawlers in 1915 before conscription was introduced. Further research in the National Archives into his Royal Naval Reserve service record suggests that he signed up on 15 November 1915.  

The War at Sea – Minesweeping

Devoran lost several merchant navy sailors keeping the supply lines open for  ships to Britain and Europe. As well as submarine warfare, the Germans laid sea mines in distant waters to sink merchant and naval vessels serving Britain in WW1 and WW2.

The ship where Dunstan served and sustained his fatal accident, the armed trawler HMS Pintail was originally a Hull fishing trawler H982,  built in 1908 and wrecked off Ireland in 1949. In October 1914 she was requisitioned for war service as a minesweeper, armed with 1 x 12 Hotchkiss pdr, 1 x 6pdr HA, Ad.No382. These guns were used for defence against German attack as well as to sink floating mines.  Pintail was moved to Penzance and Falmouth. Pintail served as Admiralty Number Ad.No.382. After the war Pintail returned to work in Hull as a trawler, eventually from Brixham, wrecked in 1949 https://wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?167019

PINTAIL, hired trawler, Adty No 382. Built 1908, 199grt, Hull-reg H.982. Armament: 1-12pdr, 1-6pdr AA. In service 10.14-1919 as minesweeper.

http://naval-history.net/WW1NavyBritishShips-Dittmar4AP.htm#hired

The dangerous role that armed trawlers like Pintail  did as minesweepers against German sea mines and submarines is described here about ones based in Dawlish https://dawlishchronicles.com/trawlers-at-war-in-the-north-sea-mayjune-1915/

and Harwich:

http://www.harwichanddovercourt.co.uk/warships/minesweepers-2/

“The task of the mine-sweeping force was to keep shipping lanes clear  …”

“The Naval Trawler is a concept for expeditiously converting a nation’s fishing boats and fishermen to military assets. England used trawlers to maintain control of seaward approaches to major harbours. No one knew these waters as well as local fishermen, and the trawler was the ship type these fishermen understood and could operate effectively without further instruction.

“The Royal Navy maintained a small inventory of trawlers in peacetime, but requisitioned much larger numbers of civilian trawlers in wartime.
The larger and newer trawlers and whalers were converted for antisubmarine use and the older and smaller trawlers were converted to minesweepers.”

http://www.harwichanddovercourt.co.uk/warships/minesweepers-2/

By the end of WW1 over 200 such minesweeping boats had been lost or sunk with the loss of hundreds of sailor’s lives. William John Dunstan was, by dint of an accident on active service at sea, one of these hundreds of sailors.

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/325612/dunstan,-william-john/

Had he lived longer, William may have carried on serving until late 1919, a year after the war, when Pintail was decommissioned back to an unarmed trawler. Minesweeping for floating mines continued well after the victory, peace and armistice in November 1918 with 55 different flotillas still operating in June 1919. The British searched over 40,000 square miles until November 1919.

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-d-to-j/

Centenary Blogpost:

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2017/12/23/remembering-william-john-dunstan-devoran-ww1-died-accident-at-sea-24-december-1917/

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Devoran War Memorial, names A to J , First World War (memorial pre cleaning 2014/18)

In our next Blogpost, we will look at the final Devoran deaths and how these link to or reveal the events of 1918 and 1919. 

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Research project, 1 June 2020. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Telling the Story of WW1 Through Devoran War Memorial Casualty Lists Year by Year 1914 to 1915

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Devoran War Memorial 2019

You can tell much of the story and events of WW1 by studying the average town or village war memorial. As Russian writer Tolstoy wrote, “If you want to paint the world, paint your own village.”

The local war memorial can tell the story of a global world war.

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These names and their stories help to tell the timeline of WW1 year by year, battle by battle.

Timeline https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_World_War_I 
1914
4th August 1914 Britain responds to German invasion towards France via Belgium and Luxembourg – War declared on 4th August 1914.

Men in Devoran who were already serving as soldiers and sailors along with naval and army reservists would have been recalled to duty.

At the beginning of 1914 the British Army had a reported strength of 710,000 men including reserves, of which around 80,000 were regular troops ready for war …

At the outbreak of war, on 4 August 1914, the British regular army numbered 247,432 serving officers and other ranks.  This did not include reservists liable to be recalled to the colours upon general mobilisation or the part-time volunteers of the Territorial Army. About one-third of the peace-time regulars were stationed in India and were not immediately available for service in Europe.

The British had about 5.5 million men of military age, with another 500,000 reaching 18 each year. [Kitchener’s] initial call for 100,000 volunteers was far exceeded, almost half a million men enlisted in two months.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recruitment_to_the_British_Army_during_the_First_World_War

Men from Devoran parish would also have volunteered for the Army and Navy, especially after Kitchener’s first appeal for more men.

We know from this January 1915 local newspaper article who had volunteered or was already serving in the forces from Devoran and the surrounding area: https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/devoran-men-in-his-majestys-forces-january-1915/

Not surprisingly for a coastal, docks and river area there were a good number of Merchant and Royal Navy men  or Navy Reservists in the early list.

The Roll of Honour first drafts lists servicemen year by year – see 1914 https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/the-first-draft-of-devoran-parish-roll-of-honour-revealed/

20th October 1914 – Lance Serjeant William James Hoyle, 1st Battalion Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry

William Hoyle was the first man to die in WW1 from Devoran Parish who was born in Devoran, although his family were resident in Polperro / Looe at the time of enlistment, due to his Mariner father being a Coastguard. His name was added to the Devoran memorial after research in 2014.

It is curious that he was not added in 1919/20 to the Devoran War Memorial.  William was born in Devoran c. 1891, to Devoran born parents James and Mary. In 1891 his father was listed as a Mariner, the family living on Market Street. After that the family moved around with the Coastguard service variously to Devon, Wales and East Cornwall.

By 1916 / 1919, it appears that both parents were dead, leaving just his two sisters. Here is his CWGC entry  William James Hoyle.   which mentions an older sister Winifred Abraham (nee Hoyle) living in Falmouth. This explains why he is remembered on the Falmouth War Memorial in Kimberley Park, rather than Devoran. His younger sister Doris appears to have served as a Nurse by 1919.

William  had been serving with the Duke of Cornwall’s  Light Infantry  (DCLI) since 1910. He is typical of those early casualties who were already serving in the Army, Territorial Army, Navy  or as a Reservist when war broke out in August 1914.

William was part of the small full time and reserve professional army of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), the “contemptible little army” so called by  the German  leader Kaiser Wilhelm. The BEF was quite small compared to the much larger standing, reserve  and conscript armies mobilised by France, Germany, Austria and Russia.

Read more about his family, his life and death: 

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2020/05/15/first-to-fight-and-first-to-die-william-james-hoyle-of-devoran-falmouth-and-polperro-died-20-october-1914-ww1/

William Hoyle  is commemorated in France on The Le Touret Memorial.

This  which “commemorates over 13,400 British soldiers who were killed in this sector of the Western Front from the beginning of October 1914 including the battles of La Bassée (10 October – 2 November 1914), to the eve of the Battle of Loos in late September 1915 and who have no known grave.

Almost all of the men commemorated on the Memorial served with regular or territorial regiments from across the United Kingdom …” (Source: CWGC Le Touret memorial) 

You can read more about the Battle(s) of La Bassee online here, a period of fluid warfare  as German, French and British troops raced to try and advance round the flank (side or edge) of each other’s emerging trench systems before the bloody stalemate of trench warfare set in for the next four years.

Devoran WW1 deaths in 1915 

Four men from Devoran died in 1915  – one in Britain training in the Army, one drowned on voyage to Gallipoli to fight the Turks, one died fighting in the trenches at the Battle of Loos in France, one drowned serving with the Merchant Navy.

Two of these who drowned were on ships sunk by German submarines.  

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The Pascoe family grave, Devoran churchyard April 2015 (Image: Mark Norris)

William Donald Pascoe, Royal Field Artillery, 20 April 1915 

The first death of Devoran men in 1915 was William Donald Pascoe, a young volunteer who enlisted early in the war into “Kitchener’s Army” of volunteer soldiers. He  died aged 18 of illness in training in Hampshire with the Royal Field Artillery on 20 April 1915. He is buried in Hampshire.

Local newspaper article from May 1915 on his funeral  https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/devoran-soldiers-funeral-1915/

Centenary blog post 2015 https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2015/0May 4/20/remembering-william-donald-pascoe-died-20-april-1915/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-k-to-p/

Edwin Marshall of Devcran (c/o Olwen Martin / Ancestry)

Edwin Marshall

Edwin Marshall, Army Service Corps, sunk on route to Gallipoli, 13 August 1915

Devoran’s third WW1 casualty was Edwin Marshall who drowned when his troopship the Royal Edward

Private Edwin Marshall, SS/14236, 18th Labour Company, Army Service Corps (ASC) died aged 39 on 13 August 1915. Edwin is remembered on the ASC panels 199, 233-236 or 331 on the Helles Memorial to the missing of The Dardanelles and Gallipoli Campaign in Turkey, having no known grave. In his case, Edwin was a soldier lost at sea on the troopship Royal Edward along with many other Cornishmen when it was sunk by torpedo.

Edwin was a volunteer soldier who had enlisted since the War broke out in August 1914.  He was part of the failed Gallipoli campaign, an attempt by the British Army and Navy to defeat Turkey (an ally of Germany), once the stalemate of the trenches was established in France and Belgium by early 1915. This failed plan  was mostly said to have been Winston Churchill’s bold idea as First Lord of the Admiralty. Thousands of ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand) troops died at Gallipoli, an event remembered on ANZAC Day 25th April each year.

Centenary Blogpost 2015:  https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/remembering-edwin-marshall-of-devoran-and-others-lost-on-the-gallipoli-troopship-ss-royal-Edward/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-k-to-p/

Devoran’s fourth casualty of the war 

William Apps, Grenadier Guards, 30 September 1915, Battle of Loos  
“W. Apps” is listed on the brass plaque in Devoran church and the first and final versions of the Devoran Parish Roll of Honour in the Village Hall, but not on the granite war memorial.

The identity of “W. Apps”  as Private William Apps, 14215, 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards, was confirmed when his name  and death year 1915 was discovered in 2015 on the ‘lost’ first 1914-1916 draft of the Devoran Roll of Honour as  “W. Apps – died 1915.”  His surname Apps is published in a list of Devoran men “In his Majesty’s Forces”, West Briton Thursday January 7th 1915.

He died during the Battle of Loos which took place from 25 September – 8 October 1915 in France on the Western Front. “It was the biggest British attack of 1915, the first time that the British used poison gas and the first mass engagement of New Army units.”

It is possible that William Apps was not a pre-war soldier but an early   Kitchener New Army volunteer.

During the Battle of Loos, the French and British Armies tried to break through the trench warfare stalemate of the German defences in Artois and Champagne and restore a war of movement as it had been in late 1914 when Devoran casualty William Hoyle was killed.

Despite improved methods, more ammunition and better equipment, the French and British attacks were contained by the German armies. British casualties at Loos  in the main attack were 48,367 (when William Apps was killed). They suffered 10,880 more in the subsidiary October attack, a total of 59,247 losses, about twice as high as German losses at Loos.  British losses were about a fifth of the overall  285,107 British casualties on the Western Front in 1915 (adapted from Wikipedia source). 

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Image source copyright: The War Graves Photographic Project

He is buried in Plot IV E57 in Bethune Town Cemetery in France, which has over 3000 casualties buried in this railway, Headquarters and Hospital (33rd CCS Casualty Clearing Station) hub related cemetery. His entry in the WW1 Serviceman’s effects lists his place of death as related to No. 6 Field Ambulance.

His widow Hilda (1885-1942?) chose the headstone inscription for him “In the midst of life we are in death”. After the war on his CWGC entry her address is listed as 16 Bohill, Penryn so it is possible that her Devoran connections had faded and he was not at first named on the Devoran War Memorial. He is not listed on the Penryn war memorial either.  It is not that clear what Devoran connections William Apps had.

According to his WW1 medal record cards, William Apps had only been in France with the Grenadier Guards for two months (since 26 July 1915) before dying of wounds. The war diary for the 3rd Grenadier Guards exists for 1915 but sadly not for September 1915, the month of his death. We know that the 3rd battalion Grenadier Gaurds were fighting in the trenches in France:  https://3rdgrenadierguardsww1.wordpress.com/home/july-and-august-1915/

On the 3rd Grenadier Guards war diary for 1st October, the day after William died in hospital, “Came out of the Trenches and arrived at VERQUIGNEUIL at 6am after a very tiring tour of duty. Col Corry returned and took over command of the Battalion” and also “115 Other Ranks joined today”, presumably reinforcements for their dead and wounded, including William Apps. https://3rdgrenadierguardsww1.wordpress.com/home/october-1915/

Eight days later on 8th October 1915 the 3rd Battalion War Diary mentions that Lt. Agar Robartes in this same regiment was ‘wounded’  in this trench fighting.

This was Frances,  the youngest brother of  Tommy Agar Robartes, the local MP who was killed by a sniper on 30 September 1915, the day that William Apps died of wounds in hospital. His family had a long landowning connection to Devoran and his father Thomas Agar Robartes, the 6th Viscount Clifden gave the land of the War Memorial Recreation Ground as a memorial to Devoran men in WW1. https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/remembering-tommy-agar-robartes-30-september-1915/

You can read more about William Apps here on his centenary blogpost:

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/remembering-w-apps-of-devoran-died-30-september-2015/

The Fifth Devoran casualty of WW1

George Francis Crocker, died at sea, SS Sailor Prince, sunk by U-boat,  2 October 1915

Merchant Navy crews were vital for bringing supplies to Britain from her Empire.

On its wrecksite website there is a picture of the ship and the following information:
SS Sailor Prince, built by W. Dobson & Co., Newcastle in 1901 and owned at the time of her loss by Prince Line, Ltd. (James Knott), Newcastle, was a British steamer of 3144 tons.
On October 2nd, 1915, Sailor Prince, on a voyage from Cyprus to Leith with a cargo of locust beans, was sunk by the German submarine U-39 (Walter Forstmann), 56 miles SExS of Cape Sidero, Crete. 2 persons were lost.

George Francis Crocker, a Fireman on SS Sailor Prince (Newcastle) in the Merchant Navy / Mercantile Marine died on 2 October 1915, aged 33. He “drowned as a result of an attack by enemy submarine” (CWGC).

CWGC lists him as the Son of George Crocker, of “Killiganvon, St. Floch,” (Killiganoon, St Feock) Perranwell, Cornwall, and the late Mary Ann Crocker.

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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 )

According to Wrecksite it mentions sunk by  “gunfire shelled” which means the German submarine’s deck guns rather than torpedoes were used against the defenceless, unarmed steamship SS Sailor Prince. This explains possibly the smaller loss of life of two sailors. U-boat captains early in the war would surface, let the cargo ship crew get into lifeboats and then sink the ship and its cargo by gunfire from its deck guns or by torpedo. 

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Thousands of names of lost Merchant Navy men from WW1 . Tower Hill Memorial, London (Picture: Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial project )

Many merchant Navy sailors were lost to enemy attack, their names are on this Tower Hill Memorial WW1.

George Crocker’s  story is told here and his name remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial for Merchant Navy crews:
https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-names-a-to-c/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/remembering-g-f-crocker-of-devoran-ss-sailor-prince-sunk-2-october-1915/

There is a separate listing for other Devoran sailors in the small Mercantile Marine section on the bottom or end of the  Devoran Roll of Honour in the Village Hall. Although they were likely to be have been doing their prewar jobs, this inclusion reflects the risky nature of serving in the Merchant Navy during wartime, as does the lists of hundreds of men on the Tower Hill Memorial.

mercantile marine

RIP here refers to people in the preceding lists – all these six sailors survived. Roll of Honour, Devoran Village Hall.

The SS Sailor Prince’s cargo, which was sunk along with the SS Sailor Prince,  was locust beans. A staple food of some African diets, these beans are now widely eaten for their health benefits and as locust bean gum for food processing and cooking. In WW1 it is more likely that the locust bean’s  fruit pulp, leaves and seeds were used as animal  feed for livestock and poultry.

In part 2 of these Devoran War Memorial Year by Year blogposts, I will look at the Devoran casualties of 1916-18 and what story it tells of the events of the First World War. 

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial, 20 May 2020

 

 

 

Truro Local Defence Volunteers Home Guard General Parades 21st and 22nd May 1940 WW2

truro LDV may 1940

80 years ago on the 21st and 22nd May 1940, hundreds of Cornish men assembled at car parks and cattle markets across the Truro Police Division Group area of Cornwall, having signed up at their local police stations as Local Defence Volunteers.

How would this varied crowd or potential rabble be turned into a volunteer fighting force before enthusiasm waned and muddle took over? 

These first volunteers into a force that would soon become rebranded by Churchill as the ‘Home Guard’, were responding to Secretary of State for War  Anthony Eden’s radio appeal for men on the 14th May 1940. http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/J1GeneralInformatonEden.htm

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2020/05/14/14-may-1940-the-home-guard-or-local-defence-volunteers-founded/

Events in Europe were changing rapidly with the sudden Blitzkreig (lightning war) invasion of France and the neutral Low Countries (Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg). The threat of invasion by German paratroopers appeared more likely.

The details of the poster are an interesting glimpse of early LDV / Home Guard organisation by Police areas before the War Office and Army before organised them into 15 Home Guard Battalions by area each with its own distinctive shoulder flash.

https://bodminkeep.org/museum-history/cornwall-homeguard-flashes/

The following day after Eden’s broadcast, the War Office clarified the LDV organisation on the 15th May 1940: http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/J2GeneralInformatonWOMessage1.htm

 

2. Force will be organised by existing military areas … (interestingly, this excludes Northern Ireland)

3. Each military area will be divided into Zones, and each Zone will contain a number of groups. An unpaid volunteer organiser will be in charge of each Zone and each Group. Area Commanders will immediately get in touch with Regional Commissioners, and with their help will divide the Area into Zones and Groups.
4. The Area Commander in consultation with the Lord Lieutenant will appoint
a volunteer area organiser, and volunteer organisers to take charge of the Zones and Groups.
5. Area Commanders will inform Zone and Group Organisers of the number of volunteers to be raised in each Group. The number will depend on:-
(a) The rifles allotted.
(b) Whether it is necessary to allot more than one man to a rifle.
(c) The number of other suitable weapons available locally.
C.-in-C., Home Forces will indicate to Commands the number of rifles available for their areas. Areas will sub-allot these rifles to Zones and Groups.
6. Zone and Group Organisers will establish their H.Q., and the Group Organiser will proceed to select men, from the list at local Police Stations, in preparation for enrolment. Details of procedure of enrolment will be forwarded later.

Note my italics and underlining on how this links with the poster  http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/J2GeneralInformatonWOMessage1.htm

One week later after Eden’s 14th May 1940 broadcast, the Police and local organisers ran these Parades in central areas as they needed to see how many volunteers and weapons they had and where they were. where were the weak areas? where were they overstrsength? what number of men did they need rifles for? What weapons – rifles, revolvers and ammunition excluding shotguns – did they have available?

You can see how large an area this Truro Police Division Group is from this Parish, Deanery and Hundreds map from Elizabeth Hotten’s Cornwall at War (2008). Presumably similar meetings were happening further south in Penwith, Falmouth  and Helston and further north in Bodmin and Clay Country.

Powder map 1940

Devoran and Carnon Downs Home Guard would have been included in the Feock Parish grouping, judging by the modern parish signs as you travel through the area.

“Tomorrow” – This poster must have put up around the area or in the local newspaper on Monday 20th May 1940.

URGENT. LOCAL DEFENCE VOLUNTEERS TRURO POLICE DIVISION GROUP 

Compromising: City of Truro, Parishes of St Eval, St. Ervan, St. Mawgan in Pydar, St. Wenn, St. Columb Major, Colan, Newquay, Cubert, Newlyn, St Enoder, Grampound, Creed, Cuby, St. Michael Caerhayes, Veryan, Ruanlanihorne, Philleigh, Gerrans, St Just-in-Roselnd, Tregoney, St. Micahel Penkivil, Probus, Ladock, St. Erme, St. Allen, Perranzabuloe, St. Agnes, Chacewater, Kenwyn, St. Clement, Kea, Feock. 

GENERAL PARADES will be held as follows

Tomorrow Tuesday May 21st [1940] Truro The Green Car park, 7 pm

Tomorrow Tuesday May 21st [1940] Veryan, Church Town, 8.30 pm

Wednesday May 22nd [1940] St. Columb Cattle Market, 7 pm

Wednesday May 22nd [1940] Newlyn East, Church Town, 7 pm

Wednesday May 22nd [1940] St Agnes, Peterville, 9 pm.

All who have enrolled and who wish to enrol should attend at one of the Parades.

Each man should bring with him full particulars of any rifles, revolvers and ammunition he possesses. SHOT GUNS ARE NOT REQUIRED.

EMPLOYERS Please release your men for the nearest parade and arrange transport for them if necessary.

CAR OWNERS Please help by taking your car to the nearest Village to bring volunteers to nearest Parade.

RIFLE AND REVOLVER OWNERS Please give details of your weapons you are prepared to lend to the Volunteers if unable to join yourself.

Signed: TREVE HOLMAN, Prov. Group Commander

————————————————————————————

“Each man” – At this stage there was no discussion of using female volunteers as there was later in the War, but for administrative purposes only.

Some of these places you could visit today and they are relatively unchanged. The Green Car park is now  partly the Truro Bus Station. The old Cattle Market in St Columb (Major)  is remembered in a bus stop so named.

So if you happen to be passing one of the above parade spots on the 21st or 22nd May of an evening or over the next few days, eighty years on, spare a thought for the many brave and dedicated men aged 17 to 65 (and over) who turned out to defend their homes, towns, parishes and country. Here in each of these everyday places, brave men once stood.

Blog post script -Who was Treve Holman?

Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Treve Holman, Cornwall Home Guard

https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/records/2945164/lieutenant-colonel-arthur-treve-holman-home-guard-home-guard-cornwall/

Treve Holman of the famous engineering family had a splendid obituary https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Arthur_Treve_Holman

1959 Obituary [2] 1959 Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Arthur Treve Holman, O.B.E., died at the age of 66 on 6th June 1959 in Lisbon (where he had gone to attend the British Trade Fair and for convalescence after an illness), completing a life of distinction as a mechanical engineer and in a wide field of interests, public and private.
His great-grandfather was Nicholas Holman, who in 1801 founded the engineering works near Camborne with which the family have always been connected and which developed into the firm of Holman Brothers, Ltd., manufacturers of mining machinery for all parts of the world.
Treve Holman was educated at Blundell’s School, Tiverton, served his apprenticeship with the family firm and studied engineering at Birmingham University. In 1914 he became a Director, in 1949 Chairman and until recently was Joint Managing Director; it had been his intention to retire during the present year but he was, in fact, actively associated with the firm until the end of his life and always intensely interested in its technical developments, particularly in air compressors and rock drills. For many years he had studied the problems of silicosis and dust extraction, and had visited most countries of the world on business missions.
In the 1914-18 war he served in the Honourable Artillery Company, the Royal Field Artillery and the Royal Air Force, and in the 1939-45 war he commanded a battalion of the Home Guard.
He was a devoted son of Cornwall and served the County in many aspects of life. A notable example was his work for technical education; to him is mainly due the establishment of a Technical School in Camborne and its subsequent development into the present large Cornwall Technical College. From the beginning he was Chairman of the Governors and remained so until comparatively lately. Keenly interested in everything appertaining to the history of the County, he founded, and was later President of, the Cornish Engines Preservation Society, and was Chairman of the Trevithick Memorial Committee. Among other activities he served as a High Sheriff of Cornwall, a County Magistrate and a Trustee of the Royal Institution of Cornwall; he took a special interest in horticulture …

So Treve Holman with his interest in horticulture would probably have known the County Horticultural Advisor Harry W. Abbiss who work was excellent cover as the organiser of  the local secret Home Guard Auxiliary Units:

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/harry-abbiss-and-secret-cornish-home-guard-auxiliary-units/

BBC – WW2 People’s War Website memories – John Parkin

John Parkin was an agricultural engineer based in mid Cornwall.
“The farmers and farm workers joined the Home Guard and went out at least once a week to various posts. I was attached to the St Columb Minor C Company 13th Platoon. Captain Holman of Chiverton was in charge with Captain Peters. My post was at Porth near Newquay, the station was in a private garage near the entrance to Porth Beach. Our patrol took us halfway to Watergate where we would meet up with the Home Guard from the Watergate Team and the other way we’d meet the Home Guard from the Newquay contingent.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/96/a4365696.shtml

Home Guard Ranks explained – https://www.home-guard.org.uk/hg/strucrank.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First to Fight and First to Die? William James Hoyle of Devoran, Falmouth and Polperro died 20 October 1914 WW1

 

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The new panel on the Devoran War Memorial 2014, 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.

20th October 1914 – Lance Serjeant or Sergeant 9554 William James Hoyle, 1st Battalion Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry

One of the ‘missing’ names from Devoran War Memorial that Bob Richards has researched and had added in 2014 is (Lance) Sergeant William James Hoyle 9554, 1st Battalion,  Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (DCLI).

William was killed aged 23 on 20 October 1914,  probably at the battle of La Bassee in the early battles of the war and has no known grave.

le touret hoyle cwgc
He is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial in France.

He is listed as the brother of Mrs Abraham, 13 Trelawney Road, Falmouth (CWGC information). He is elsewhere listed (Forces War Records) as ‘born in Devoran’ and ‘resident in Polperro’. He is not listed on the Polperro war memorial.

What was his story and what clues can we find to his life and death? 

In 1911 William was serving as a private in the 1st Battalion DCLI in DCLI barracks, Gravesend, Kent,  according to the 1911 Census and the UK Registers of Soldiers Effects  after his death.

In 1911 the rest of his family were living at No. 3, Coast Guard Station, Polperro where his father James Hoyle (b. 1863, Devoran – d. Sep 1916, Falmouth) was a Coastguard. His mother was a Mary Jane Hoyle. She was born in Devoran in  1861, died buried aged 54, on 27 Sep 1915 Falmouth, just before William’s death. Not sure of her maiden name.

The family moved around for James’ Coastguard and Maritime work. In 1889 William’s older sister Winifred Hoyle was born in Devoran and in 1891 census he was listed as a ‘Mariner’ living on Market Street.

In 1901 they were serving as a Coastguard in Clovelly in Devon. Earlier in 1898 when his younger sister Doris was born, William James Hoyle and family were living in Swansea in South Wales.

Links between Devoran and Swansea / South Wales were not uncommon at the time due to the maritime and mining links of Devoran Docks  to South Wales coal fields and mineral copper smelting.

kimberley park war mem w j hoyle dev

His name or a W. J. Hoyle is listed on the Kimberley Park War Memorial in Falmouth, where his married sister lived at Trelawney Road (she was still there in 1939). His sister was Winifred Hoyle, born 30 June 1889, died 1972 Falmouth. She married a John G. Abraham in 1915, an apprentice shipwright in Falmouth(b. 1892), who was also  still working at the Falmouth Docks in 1939. John Abraham died in 1965 in Falmouth.

w j Hoyle 1915 register 1

1915 entry for Sergeant  William James Hoyle 1st DCLI 

This Register of Soldiers Effects (their War Gratuity or outstanding pay etc) lists William as a full Sergeant, by Regimental Number 9554. It mentions that he was killed in action his place of birth Truro and that he enlisted on 14 September 1910. His occupation aged 18-19 before becoming a soldier was a “fruiterer.”  Elsewhere in SDGW Soldiers Who Died in The Great War, his place of enlistment into the DCLI is given as Looe, Cornwall (near Polperro)

The WW1 Service Medal and Award Rolls lists William James Hoyle  as an Acting Sergeant, who received the standard Victory medal and British War medal. He should also have received the 1914 ‘Mons’ Star but I can find no record of this.

William Hoyle had another sister, Doris Hoyle, (b.1900?  who died Falmouth 1928?) She may have been a Nurse in wartime, based on this 1919 entry  record in the next of kin section of the UK Army registers of Soldiers Effects. By this time 1919 his sisters are listed as Next of Kin, as their Coastguard  father James appears to have died (c. 1916) and possibly their mother too.

w j Hoyle 1915 register 2

William Hoyle was the first man to die from Devoran Parish in WW1 (although resident in Polperro at the time of enlistment) – see his CWGC entry William James Hoyle.

His name was added to the Devoran War Memorial after research in 2014.

William was dead aged 23 by October 1914, only four months into the war. He was not a Private but already by the time of his death a Lance Serjeant or Sergeant.

As a result, he is an example of someone who was already serving in the British Army, Territorial Army or an Army Reservist in August 1914 to have died so early at this rank  in the first months of the war.

William was part of the small full time and reserve professional army of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), the “contemptible little army” so called by the German leader Kaiser Wilhelm. The BEF was quite small compared to the much larger standing, reserve and conscript armies mobilised by France, Germany, Austria and Russia.

le touret hoyle cwgc

As mentioned, William Hoyle is commemorated in France on The Le Touret Memorial.

This memorial “commemorates over 13,400 British soldiers who were killed in this sector of the Western Front from the beginning of October 1914 including the battles of La Bassée (10 October – 2 November 1914), to the eve of the Battle of Loos in late September 1915 and who have no known grave.
Almost all of the men commemorated on the Memorial served with regular or territorial regiments from across the United Kingdom …” (Source: CWGC Le Touret memorial)

The 1st Battalion DCLI in World War One

When war broke out, William was either stationed in Ireland (most likely) or called up from the Reserves to Bodmin to Curragh. sgortly afterwards they haeaded to France.
“In 1914 the 1st Battalion DCLI was the “home” battalion, stationed with 14th Brigade, part of 5th Division at the Curragh in Ireland. The Brigade orders to mobilize were received at 5.25pm on 4th August. Reservists were called to rejoin the Colours and had to travel from all over England to the DCLI’s depot at Bodmin in order to be kitted out, from where they travelled by train and boat to join the Battalion at the Curragh.

Incredibly, by 7th August the Battalion was at full strength, all its reservists having managed to report for duty at the Curragh. Only two didn’t make it, both of them being at sea.”

“Four battalions made up 14th Brigade: 1st DCLI, 2nd Suffolks, 1st East Surreys and 2nd Manchesters. The Cornwalls and some of the Suffolks set off from Dublin for France aboard SS Lanfranc on 13th August 1914. They arrived at Le Havre on 15th August 1914 to an enthusiastic welcome from the French and heavy rain.” 

Details of the battle in which William James Hoyle died 

About the 1st DCLI at La Bassee from their Official History of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry 1914-1919 accessed free online  at lib.militaryarchive.co.uk

105 DCLI 2

106 DCLI

 

officers were mentioned as casaulties, ORs or Other ranks were usually not. somehere in all the shifting action of 20th October 1914, William Hoyle was killed.

William James Hoyle died in October 1914.  Most of the next four years for the 1st DCLI were spent on the Western Front, although briefly the Brigade was sent to Italy later in WW1.

Source: https://hubpages.com/education/Duke-of-Cornwalls-Light-Infantry-in-World-War-1

 

 

William James Hoyle – Devoran born and now remembered on the Devoran War Memorial, 100 years later.

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14 May 1940 The Home Guard or Local Defence Volunteers Founded

IMG_0268

Wartime events of May 1940 in Devoran saw the local Home Guard units founded after a BBC radio appeal on 14 May 1940 by Anthony Eden, that you can read here:

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2020/05/05/devoran-in-may-1940-ww2/

Names and photograph of the Devoran and Carnon Downs Home Guard  unit: 

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/devoran-and-carnon-downs-home-guard-ww2/

a great photo which can be seen here also in Barry Simpson’s booklet: http://restronguetcreeksociety.org/devoran.pdf

and the secret Auxiliary Units of the Home Guard locally led by Harry Abbiss:

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/harry-abbiss-and-secret-cornish-home-guard-auxiliary-units/

There is an interesting Home Guard memorial to the 7th Battalion of the Home Guard – Falmouth No. 1  Company at Pennance Point near Maenporth beach. It is more likely that Devoran men were part of the 10th Truro battalion of the Cornwall Home Guard, linked to the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry  (DCLI) https://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/57699

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project, 14 May 1940 / 2020

 

 

 

 

VE Day 75 Years On

churchill cake ww2 national Trust

I have so far failed (May 2020) to find any accounts of Devoran on VE Day 1945.

I’m sure that a grand party was had with whatever rations were available, the Village Hall was decked out with colour and dancing, that Devoran School children had a holiday, much beer  was drunk in the pub(s) and prayers of thanksgiving were said in church and chapel.

Eight names would eventually be added to the Devoran War Memorial in the churchyard . By VE Day, seven Devoran men had already died.  There were still Devoran men and women serving and fighting in the Far East until VJ Day in August.

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/remembering-a-c-b-sowden-of-devoran-7-september-1945/

The eighth Devoran man Alfred C.B. Sowden was to die in Burma on 7th September 1945.

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/index-of-devoran-ww2-names/

75 years on we can still be thankful for these many years of peace but during Lockdown many of the celebratory things above can not happen again for a while yet.

churchill cake ww2 national Trust

Here is a great Churchill favourite fruit cake recipe for your home celebrations:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/ve-day-national-trust-churchills-fruit-cake/

VE Day 75 – Keep Safe. Stay Home. Support the NHS. Save Lives.

I have so far failed (May 2020) to find any accounts of Devoran on VE Day 1945. If you know of any please contact me via the comments page. 

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Devoran war memorial research project blog.