Devoran First World War Casualties, Names A to C

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

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

J.G. Adams

Private T/243064, John Glanville Adams, 7th Battalion Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, died 23 March 1918. He is remembered on the Pozieres Memorial on the Somme on France to the missing of the Fifth Army in 1918 France, so has no known grave.

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

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

John Glanville Adams is listed in Soldiers Who Died In The Great War (SDGW) as Residence – Devoran, Cornwall but was born in Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales. He enlisted into the Army at Bodmin, Cornwall (most likely the DCLI barracks, now the Regimental Museum).

W. Apps

Apps is listed on the brass plaque in the church and the Roll of Honour in the Village Hall, but not on the granite memorial.
The most likely casualty is 14215 W.Apps, 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards, died on 30 September 1915. 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.

So far the closest local link to Devoran parish is the address listed on the CWGC website for his wife Hilda Apps of 16 Bohill, Penryn, Cornwall.

Apps is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery (image: www.cwgc.org)

Apps is buried in Bethune Town Cemetery (image: http://www.cwgc.org)

R.J. Bilkey

Corporal 200901 Richard John Bilkey, 1/4 Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, died aged 26 on 31 January 1919. He is buried in Grave Reference E124, Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.

R J Bilkey's headstone , Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt  (Image copyright TWGPP?CWGC: The War Graves Photographic Project)

R J Bilkey’s headstone , Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt
(Image copyright TWGPP?CWGC: The War Graves Photographic Project)

Kantara was important in the defence of Suez and its canal against the Turks. This cemetery east of Suez was used for burials from 1916 to 1920 from various hospitals as well as reburials from isolated cemeteries. The post war date suggests Bilkey died of wounds or illness in hospital in Egypt. His niece Josephine Lilly of Carnon Downs (who supplied the photographs of Bilkey) believes that he died of pneumonia.

Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt where R J Bilkey is buried.    (Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC: The War Graves Photographic Project)

Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt where R J Bilkey is buried.
(Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC: The War Graves Photographic Project)

The CWGC website lists him as son of Richard and Emma Bilkey of Tresithick, Carnon Downs, Perranwell Station, Cornwall.

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

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

Richard John Bilkey was born c. January to March 1893, the birth registered in Truro. In the 1911 census he is listed as an 18 year old Farm Labourer, born Tresithick, Feock.

His father, also called Richard Bilkey (1854 – 1939) was a farm bailiff on the 1911 census. His mother was Emma Jane Bilkey (nee Hooper, 1865 – 1930).

Bilkey at the time was a local Devoran name judging by the Edwardian / Victorian class photographs of Devoran School in Ralph and Marie Bird’s Devoran and Its River. A girl, Mowin Bilkey is shown in the c. 1900 class photograph (page 51, top).

Phil Traverton, the great nephew of J Bilkey, passed on infromation about Phil’s grandmothers brother from the late Violet Dunstan of Hugus) gave us a little family history related to “Uncle Jack, as family legend says he was the first man to volunteer at a recruitment drive at Camborne.”

A.E. Crocker

Private Albert Ernest Crocker, 17095 7th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, died 2 April 1918 and like J.G.Adams is remembered on the Pozieres Memorial in France, having no known grave.

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

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

Albert was listed in Soldiers Died in The Great War SDGW as born at St. Feock and Residence at Penpol. Although his battalion crossed to France on 27 July 1915, he has no 1915 Star medal. His medal cards list the standard Victory and British Medal, suggesting enlistment or conscription and service from 1916 onwards. He enlisted in Perranwell.

Crocker as a local name appears frequently in Ralph and Marie Bird’s Devoran book. Other Crockers from Point near Devoran such as 31 year old tin smelter John Henry Crocker (b. 1884) served on and survived the war (10th Service Battalion DCLI “Cornwall Pioneers” and the Hants Regiment).

Tony Dyson’s research in 2007 notes that Albert Crocker is a cousin of two other Devoran casualties, George Francis Crocker and Richard Stephens. He notes him as born around 1895 in Penzance and by 1899 is on the register of Penpol Sunday School, aged 4. His brother Harry also served in the DCLI and survived. Tony has Albert listed as the son of Samuel and Catherine Jane Crocker (nee Williams).

G Crocker
The name on the war memorail suggests G or C, on the brass plaque inside is listed as E. Crocker. The Roll of Honour lists a G. Crocker RIP. Several Crockers are listed on the CWGC website, whilst Bob Richards notes that George Crocker is also on the Feock Memorial, one of several duplicated names.

The most likely local match is G.F. Crocker. George Francis Crocker, a Fireman on SS Sailor Prince, Newcastle in the Merchant Navy / Mercantile Marine who died on 2 October 1915, aged 33. He “drowned as a result of an attack by enemy submarine” (CWGC). Crocker is remembered on the Tower Hill memorial in London amongst nearly 36,000 merchant seamen from both wars, 12,000 from the First World War.

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 )

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 )

He is listed as  the son of George Crocker, Killiganvon (Killiganoon?) St. Feock, Perranwell and the late Mary Anne Crocker.

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

G.F. Crocker is remembered amongst the thousands of names of Merchant Navy men lost at sea in WW1 on the Tower Hill Memorial London designed by Lutyens (Picture: Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial project )

Two were lost in the  sinking of the SS Sailor Prince, including Crocker. On its  wrecksite website there is a picture 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.

The other Sailor Prince casualty on 2 October 1915 listed on the CWGC website was Crocker’s shipmate Fireman Frederick William Barker, aged 28, son of the late Frederick William and Mary Beatrice Barker (nee Bartlett).

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2 thoughts on “Devoran First World War Casualties, Names A to C

  1. Pingback: Remembering G F Crocker of Devoran, SS Sailor Prince sunk 2 October 1915 | Devoran War Memorial Cornwall

  2. Pingback: Devoran men of 1914 MCMXIV – first volunteers and old sweats | Devoran War Memorial Cornwall

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