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/
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?
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:
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
William John Dunstan’s signature on this 1911 Census return for his family living at Chapel Terrace.
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
The White family headstone (Devoran Churchyard, 2019)
Retired prison officer, “William Henry White of Carnon Gate Devoran Died 6th October 1921 Aged 74″
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”
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.
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
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
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.
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’.
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.
William R. Cock, Headteacher at Devoran School in WW1
“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.”
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.
Long serving Devoran Head Teacher William R. Cock at the presentation of the playing field, September 1919
World War Two Casualties
The cleaned up Devoran War Memorial panel for WW2 2019/20
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.
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”
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:
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
W.W.G. Parsons, Devoran Air Raid Warden in WW2j
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
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.
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.
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.
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