“If you want to paint a picture of the world” or ” for true universality, paint your own village” (attributed to Tolstoy)
As we approach the 100th anniversary of the 1914-18 war, I will be working with several others to research the First World War casualty names on my local village war memorial at Devoran in Cornwall. The Second World War panel will also be researched in time for anniversaries of the start and end of WW2.
The research is being undertaken with various people and groups in Devoran over the 5 years of 2014 to 2019 with archive research by Feock Parish Councillor Bob Richards,a contributor to several local military history books with Nick Thornicroft. It also incorporates the valuable research done by Tony Dyson in 2007 which includes photographs and local memories of the men from the Crocker and Ferris families living locally. This research file has been lodged in the Parish Church for use during Armistice / Remebmbrance events.
This quiet creek side village on the estuary was once a bustling port servicing the mines of Cornwall and boasting an early mineral railway or tramway, the Redruth and Chasewater Railway (a full history published by D.B. Barton, 1978).
By 1918, the railway would be closed, the rails taken up for wartime scrap metal. The Cornish mines would be in decline, the river and its docks silting up.
A pdf download of the background history of Devoran can be found at www.historic-cornwall.org.uk
Notable for its connection to the Lobb brothers Thomas and William Lobb, Victorian plant hunters, Devoran churchyard also has a simple Celtic cross war memorial listing 16 names of local men who died in the ‘Great War’ and 8 names from the Second World War.
Next to the Devoran old school (now a private house, a new school being recently rebuilt on the edge of the village) is the Devoran Village war memorial recreation ground, opened in memory of its fallen sons in 1919 (see separate blog post). It is still a busy part of local life, especially for young families.
Pictures in the late Ralph and Marie Bird’s Devoran and its River (Truran books, 2008) show the Headteacher Mr. Cock at the handover and dedication of the Playing Field to the village in 1919. For him this must have been a difficult day of memories of many of the boys he had taught there from the 1890s onwards who were now listed on the war memorial.
Further Family History links can be found at GENUKI Devoran page
The Restronguet Creek Society webpage gallery of modern photographs and Barry Simpson’s collection of Devoran shipping photos.
Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project, https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com