Devoran Village Hall, centre of many activities in the village , is built in an old railway engine workshop from the Redruth and Chasewater railway which closed during the First World War. Being an old Victorian building, there are plans for improvement.
Surviving proudly on its wall inside is the Devoran village and parish roll of honour:
Hereunder are recorded the names of those officers, NCOs and men on active service of the Parish of Devoran who served their King and Country in the Great War.
Dulce et Decorum est pro Patria Mori.
Translated, this means “A sweet and fitting thing it is to die for your native land”.
I remember puzzling through this Owen poem at school, struck by the similarity to my old school motto (chosen for an upcountry ex-grammar school, built in 1914) that survived oddly into comprehensive days, the motto shortened to Fas et Patria – ‘Duty and Country’. We stared at similar roll of honour boards on our school hall wall during long assemblies, listing the names of the fallen schoolboys and teachers. As it was pointed out to us in Armistice week, many of them were little older than our teenage selves.
Against several of the Devoran list of such names are the letters RIP. These recorded as war dead on the village war memorial or inside church plaque; these RIP names of the war dead are covered in my other blog posts on this site. The Devoran village hall roll of honour is written in an ornate calligraphy script (by ‘GLB’ – see note below) so I hope the transcribed initials are correct. I will correct any mistakes notified.
There are some good Cornish names here. Many of the names are still in the village or on the school registers like the Marshall or the Woolcock families. Many such as the Dungey family (horse bus owners) or Brabyn family (boatbuilders) can be found throughout the school photograph and captions in the photographic history Devoran and its River book by Ralph and Marie Bird, published by Truran.
I’m sure many of the men named on the Roll of Honour can be seen in the Devoran School photographs from the 1890s onwards, in the church choir with the the Vicar Mr Jones and many WW1 survivors with medal stripes in the Home Guard photograph from the 1940s. There is more by and about Mr Jones as a forces chaplain and about Devoran parish affairs in WW1 in Elizabeth Hotten’s selection of parish magazine entries in her book Cornwall at War.
The Devoran Parish Roll of Honour
J.G. Adams RIP
W. Apps RIP
C. Brabyn – see note below
R.J. Bilkey RIP
A.E. Crocker RIP
G. Crocker RIP
J.H. Crocker – see note below
W.J. Dunstan RIP
H.J. Dunstan or N.J. Dunstan
W.J.T. Davey RIP
J.E. Hitchens RIP
Rev. J.R. Jones, vicar
J. Johnson RIP
G. Martin RIP
E. Marshall RIP
W.T.B. Peters RIP
W.D. Pascoe RIP
J.P. Paynter RIP
C.M. Rogers RIP
R. Stephens RIP
N.or H. Trenoweth
H.C. White RIP
F.G. Webb RIP
Mercantile Marine (N.B. the old name for what is now called Merchant Navy)
T.H.Kemp – N.B. see below, later a WW2 casualty
The Roll of Honour only features the men of the parish and no record of any women who may have served or undertaken war work, such as nursing as mentioned of Gwendoline Edwards (see previous blog post on a wartime marriage).
The identity of the GLB who did the Roll of Honour calligraphy might well be Gwendoline Layton Blunt, the married name of our BRCS Red Cross nurse Gwendoline Edwards, daughter of Dr. Edwards of Edwards House, Devoran Lane.
It strikes me as the sort of project that might appeal to someone who had served in a motor ambulance unit and had married a serviceman. She had family still in the area such as her doctor father and who had both the society position, the leisure, literacy and accomplished ‘lady’ craft skills to do this tribute, even if she was living away in Hertfordshire. Gwendoline would have known many of these men of her generation through her father’s role in the village. Without taking the back off etc to check for dates and signatures on what may well be fragile, this is a good working theory for now.
Where we can find out details of the war service of those who survived, I will post these onto separate blog posts over the next year or so. For example, the C. Brabyn listed here may well have served through WW1 in the navy and be shipwright Charles Brabyn who died on active service on HMS Courageous in September 1939. Born in 1890, he had Long Service medals awarded in 1929 – see our Devoran Second World War Casualties A to R
LIke Charles Brabyn, Thomas Harold Kemp died at sea during World War Two according to http://www.cwgc.org records for T H Kemp. His name is recorded on a brass plaque inside the Devoran parish church – see again our Devoran Second World War Casualties A to R
During restoration in 2015, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Devoran Railway Festival, a third handwritten panel was found behind the Roll of Honour. This was possibly a first attempt with more information than could finally fit into the finished Roll of Honour. We will research this further in 2015/16.
Among the blog posts you will find more biographical information and I am happy to add more as it emerges (e.g. via the contact form). For example, several Crockers died in WW1 yet J.H. Crocker survived the war; John Henry Crocker (b.1894) a tin smelter from Point served in the 10th Service battalion DCLI Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry “Cornwall Pioneers” and Hants (Hampshire) Regiment. A glimpse of a job from a vanished industrial Devoran …
Finally, a subject for another Blogpost, the Second World War National Savings certificate in the Village Hall for the Devoran Village Savings Group 1940-1964: