Other Devoran related wartime casualties and a wartime marriage

The CWGC website http://www.cwgc.org reveals an interesting number of other Devoran and local names of wartime casualties when ‘Devoran’ is used as an additional information keyword. Some of these names appear on the Kea church war memorial; others may be listed on Feock War Memorial.

A new panel section has been added by Feock Parish Council in October 2014 to the Devoran War Memorial to add new names as research uncovers any missing Devoran casualties.

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.

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.

Other WW1 / First World War casualties

Major Francis Gordon Grant Thoyts 1st Battalion Somerset Light Infantry, India medal, died aged 44 on 26 August 1914. He is commemorated on the La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre-Memorial, France to those who died in the first three months of fighting in this area in 1914.

Bob Richards suggests that his connection may not have been very strong to the Devoran area.

Born around 1870, Thoyts was a professional soldier, the holder of the India Medal (Chitral) and the son of Colonel N.B. Thoyts. He is listed on the CWGC site as the husband of Irene Margaret Thoyts, Tregye Farm, Devoran.

Lance Corporal Edgar Frances Medley,
883217, 31st Battalion Canadian Infantry died aged 39 on 27 May 1918.
Another name that crops up on a CWGC search under the name ‘Devoran’ is Edgar Medley but his connection appears at the moment quite slim.

Born c. 1879 in Toxteth Liverpool, he is the only CWGC burial in Innisfail Bowden Chalak Farm Cemetery, Alberta, Canada. Intriguingly the CWGC website records that ‘recent research shows he is buried here.’ he married in 1905 in Banff, Canada where he seems to have spent most of his life. He is listed as the husband of Louise Maude Medley, Innisfail, Alberta.

The Devoran connection on the CWGC website appears to be his mother Mrs Gifford Johnson of Devoran. Born Catherine Scott in Malta, she had remarried a Mr Gifford Johnson by the time of her son’s death.

Percy Sweet

Rifleman Percy Archibald Sweet

Percy Sweet has been included on the additional panel to the Devoran War Memorial, despite not appearing on the Devoran Roll of Honour.

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

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

Rifleman Percy Archibald Sweet 474189 of the 12th London Regiment (The Rangers) was killed aged 31 on 9 April 1917 during the battle (7-9 April) to take the French village of Neuville Vitasse by the 56th (London) Division. He is buried at plot 1 A 35 with many other London Rangers in the London Cemetery, Neuville Vitasse.

Percy Sweet's headstone, London Cemetery  (Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

Percy Sweet’s headstone,
London Cemetery
(Image copyright TWGPP/CWGC, The War Graves Photographic Project)

Percy Sweet’s father Francis and Louisa Sweet lived at Fernmere on Market Street in Devoran. Percy is also listed on the CWGC website as a ‘native of Hammersmith’ London where Percy and his brothers and sisters were born.
His father (a shoemaker) and mother is still listed in the 1911 census working in London but by the time Rifleman Percy Sweet was killed in France in 1917, the family were living in Devoran. His father Francis was born in Kenwyn, Truro and his mother Louisa (nee Pridham) from Southdown in Cornwall.
Percy was born in 1887 and was listed in the 1911 census as a Cordwainer (a leather worker / shoemaker) in London. This explains why he enlisted in a London regiment.

Percy Sweet’s Service Records survive and give a few personal details of his enlistment (attestation) including being issued with spectacles whilst out in France on army service.

Thanks to Feock Parish Councillor Bob Richards for this Percy Sweet information.

The other name that Bob Richards has researched and suggested is  Lance Sergeant William James Hoyle 9554, 1st Battalion DCLI, who was killed aged 23 on 20 October 1914 in the early battles of the war and has no known grave. 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 Ploperro.

Another ‘Devoran’ keyword related casualty is Private John Rubley Davies, 8319, 2nd Battalion Canadian Infantry who died aged 23 on 12 September 1916. He is buried in Oxford Botley Cemetery, one linked to the 3rd Southern General Hospital based in the Oxford University Exam School. He is listed as the son of Pascoe and Bessie Davies and born at Devoran, Cornwall.

WW2 / Second World War casualties

Able Seaman Lewis Adams D/J/12221, Royal Navy, HMS Chelsea died aged 46 on 1 April 1941. He has no known grave and is listed on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, panel 46, column 1.
Listed on CWGC as the son of Jmaes and Mary Adams. The local connection is his wife, Dorothy Mary White Adams, Devoran, Cornwall.

His name can be found added to the plinth of the Kea Church war memorial, below the First World War names. Kea War memorial can be seen at thgis site: http://thebignote.com/2012/10/11/st-kea-church-war-memorial/

Engine Room Artificer 3rd class, William Norman Worth, D/MX 51189, Royal Navy, died aged 26 aboard HM Submarine Oxley on 11 September 1939. Like many Devoran naval casualties lost at sea, he is remembered on panel 34, column 1 of the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
Listed on the CWGC website as the son of Norman Joseph Worth and Gwendoline Worth, the Devoran connection is his listing as the husband of Gwendoline Mary Worth of Devoran, Cornwall.

Corporal Peter John Thomas, 7917955, 1st Royal Armoured Corps, Royal Tank Regiment died in Holland aged 24 on 30th September 1944. He is buried in Uden War Cemetery, the Netherlands / Holland. Uden was liberated by Allied forces from the Germans in September 1944.
Peter Thomas is listed on the CWGC website as the son of Harry and Elsie Thomas of Devoran, Cornwall.

image

A First World War wartime marriage

In Elizabeth Hotton’s Cornwall at War, page 49, a wartime marriage is recorded in the Devoran parish magazine as ‘quietly solemnised’ on Monday 16 July 1917 at St. John’s Parish Church between Miss Gwendoline Edwards, eldest daughter of Dr. Edwards and Lieutenant Denzil Layton Blunt of Brampton, Huntingdon.

Thankfully Blunt seems to have survived his First World War service in the RASC Royal Army Service Corps to appear for a second time in the London Gazette (first as an Officer in 1915) receiving in June 1945 the grandly named award of the Chancery of the Order of St. Michael and St. George for his wartime service as Director of Agriculture, Colonial Agriculture Service, Kenya.

The bride had an interesting wartime story of her own to follow up in the future, showing how the First World War changed the lives of Cornish women. Miss Gwendoline Edwards the bride is noted in the parish magazine in August 1917 as having “recently returned from France” where she was involved in BRCS (British Red Cross Society) motor ambulance work.

An enquiry lodged with the BRCS archives for any further information on Gwendoline Edwards elicited that VAD Cornwall 34 (34 might be her number or an area number) Gwendoline Edwards served as a 21 year old from 13 October 1916 as Rank G.S. (General Service?) Chauffeuse until 9 July 1917 (a week before her wedding). Particulars of duties: Motor Ambulance Driving in France.

It appears that this daughter of the local doctor Dr. P.H. Edwards was out in France as a Red Cross ambulance driver. She died 50 years after her wartime service in Kenya in 1967.

Advertising image of a British Red Cross nurse and motor ambulance, Chambers' Journal,  1st October 1918 (Author's collection)

Advertising image of a British Red Cross nurse and motor ambulance, Chambers’ Journal, 1st October 1918 (Author’s collection)

There is more about the British Red Cross volunteers in WW1 on their blog / website, well worth a further blog post!

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5 thoughts on “Other Devoran related wartime casualties and a wartime marriage

  1. Bob Richards

    Hi there.
    I am looking at a couple more names which should be on the Devoran War Memorial from WW1, would like to discuss further, please e-mail me.
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. worldwarzoogardener1939 Post author

      Dear Bob Richards
      Thanks for your email. I will email you in next few days as there is a difference between the names recorded on the brass plaque inside the church and those on the granite war memorial.

      I have found a number of Devoran (family) based names for WW1 and WW2 which are listed through CWGC website etc, one of which appears on Kea memorial (I think it’s Lewis Adams) but have not added these to the blog post yet. I have yet to pop up to Feock war memorial and check the lists there.

      Judging by the zoo war memorials I have also been researching, names were still being added (or omitted) from service related deaths into the the 1930s.

      Many thanks for your comment and I will be in touch

      Mark

      Reply
    2. Jim

      Hi Bob. I apologize for dropping in on this blog but I am desperate to locate and family member of Alfred A.C.Sowden who lost his life in Burma on Sept 7 1945. Any assistance is much appreciated Thank you. Jim

      Reply
      1. worldwarzoogardener1939 Post author

        Dear Jim
        I will look in my files and ask Bob Richards who also works on the project if he knows of any surviving family of this brave local man with his interesting SOE career.
        We’ll keep you posted what we find. Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project blog.

  2. Jim

    I am desperate to locate the family of the late Albert Claude C. Sowden who died in Burma Sept 7th 1945. Any help is much appreciated. Thanks. Jim

    Reply

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