Devoran men of 1914 MCMXIV – first volunteers and old sweats


The hidden or old panel of the Roll of Honour lists the names of Devoran’s serving men and early volunteers in 1914, its increasing volunteers throughout 1915 and by 1916 its conscripts under the Military Service Acts  of  January 1916 for single men (18-41) and on 16 May, married men (18-41).

The 1914 men are an interesting mix and reveal interesting sides to Devoran village and families at the time, much changed from today.

As with many coastal or creekside Cornish villages, there were many long served Devoran men in the Royal Navy.

Names are transcribed from photographs of GLB’s ornate calligraphy / handwriting script and will be amended if needed on closer study.

MCMXIV (1914 column 1)

Chellew Woolcock, W. 2 Lieutenant, 19 Cheshire Regiment

William Chellew Woolcock was born at Point in 1895 to William Woolcock and Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Chellew Berriman.

William is one of the few officers from Devoran Parish alongside K.G. Sampson Lieutenant ASC / RAF although he enlisted as a Private in the local 9th DCLI Battalion.

He came from a well established and well connected family, his uncle being Richard Berriman Chellew, retired shipowner of Tremorvah, Truro who left £677,380 when he died in 1929 including some to his nephew William.

Educated (according to the 1911 census) as a boarder in a school in Warwick, William in 1903 aged 13 also featured in the local newspaper in an article London College of Music Pianoforte (exams?) in Penzance.

8 July 1915 West Briton – DCLI Recruiting March

Next halt at Point … “Welcomed by a lady Mrs Chellew Woolcock who said it was the greatest joy to her to see the detachment there, because the DCLIs were their very own regiment, and because her own son was a member of it and there were three lads from Point in the 9th Battalion … The detachment next marched into Devoran along railway tracks …”

1914 William joined the 9th Battalion (Duke of Cornwall’s  Light Infantry) DCLI and then was gazetted / commissioned into the 14th Cheshire Regiment, then 19th Cheshire (Labour) Battalion as a 2nd Lieutenant and was later attached to the Liverpool Regiment. He arrived in France on ########, according to his medal record cards.  He survived and his medals were sent to Point House, Devoran in the early 1920s.

It appears that he married Georgina Harris c. 1917/18 and that they had a son, also William Chellew Woolcock. William the WW1 officer appears to have died in 1935 at Point aged 40. His mother Bessie died in 1942. His wife Georgina appears to have remarried in 1947 and the family dwelling at Treloweth, Point,  Devoran was then sold.


Thornton, A.W. Sgt, RE

Tyack, T. Chief Petty Officer, RNR Discharged

Thomas Tyack was a career sailor number 141058, born in Devoran on 7 October 1864 and enlisting in the Royal Navy on 3 July 1887.

Tyack first retired or was discharged in 1909 with a record of  “Very Good Character”  throughout his long career as a Chief Petty Officer ERA (Engineering Room Artificer  / Fitter) after a navy career of over thirty years serving all over the world through colonial conflicts throughout the Victorian and Edwardian era.

He served on a wide range of ships and Royal Navy shore bases with exotic and impressive names – Indus (1887), Cambridge (1887), Orlando (1888) , Vivid I I (1891), Defiance (1891), Hibernia (1894), Sybille (1895-98), Collingwood (1898-1901), Hermione (1902-04), Vivid / Royal Navy College Devonport (1904), Argonaut (1906), Challenger (1906) and a shore period in Gibraltar (1908-9).

In 1901 he was listed on the Census as a naval boarder at the Sailors Rest “Homeward Bound” Refreshment House at 19 William Steert Devonport.

In the 1911 census, he is listed as a “Naval Pensioner” aged 46 at St. John’s Terrace. He is living with Penpol-born mother Elizabeth Ann Tyack (aged 84, private means), a widowed mother of 3 surviving children including James (b.1861), Thomas and his spinster sister Mary Tyack (1863-1940). His father Richard was a Kenwyn Truro born shoe maker born 1815.

His naval career began again on HMS Albion on  2 August 1914, volunteering or recalled to the colours on the outbreak of war. By 6 June 1915 he was back at the stone ship or shore base of Vivid II (Devonport) and invalided out with Bronchitis / Empesema on 7 July 1915.

A Freemason from 1901, Thomas was still alive as probate for his sister in 1940 at 24 St John’s Terrace, Devoran and where he  died aged 77 in December 1941, during another world war.


Sandwell, W. Sergeant RFA 54273 

William Sandwell was born around 1870 at St Helier, Jersey on the Channel Islands and worked first as a saddler or farm servant before a long army career.

After 22 years army service as a saddler and collar maker, much of it in India, he retired in 1908. He enlisted again or re-enlisted at Bulford Camp with 216 Battery RFA at the age of 44 on 16 September 1914 as a Saddlery Sergeant. He was later promoted to Saddlery Staff Sergeant in 1918, serving throughout with the Royal Field Artillery.

He embarked for Egypt with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force on the 17 June or 1st July 1915. His records show service in Salonika in October 1916-1917 and Egypt from September 1916. Sandwell embarked back to the UK on 29 July 1918 (back from the Egyptian Expeditionary Force). On his return he transferred into the reserve and was issued with a Long Service / Good Conduct Medal, the usual British War Medal and Victory Medal  and 1914 -15 Star.

Sandwell’s long service was recognised late in life in the award of a Meritorious Service Medal 30 January 1948 ‘with annuity’, after several applications or recommendations during his army career.

In the 1911 census he appears as a 41 year old army pensioner and his wife, the Falmouth born Elizabeth Ellen (or Helen) Garland were living in Plymouth at 60 North Road, Plymouth. This was possibly connected to his wife’s work as a confectioner, own account.

On his service, reenlistment and pension papers he states that in 1914 he had been resident at his father’s house in Truro for three years (1911-14). The Devoran connection appears to have been residence by his wife and /or himself in Market Street, Devoran before this address was crossed out for a final move to 39 Budock Terrace in Falmouth, his wife’s home town where she was born in 1869. Elizabeth was already a widow when the couple appear to have married in 1907 and adopted a six year old child Edward George Moses (Sandwell) around 1915

Rundle, T. Petty Officer RN

Smith, M.C. Warrant Officer RN

As you read through the list of the 1914 early volunteers, old sweats re-enlisting or already serving men, an increasing number of these names crop up on Devoran’s granite war memorial. Presumably the earlier you joined up, the longer you were exposed to hazards and the greater your chances of becoming a casualty. The stories of these men are given in the links to other parts of the blog:

Brabyn, C. Petty Officer RN

see the blogpost records for Charles Brabyn, a Devoran sailor who served in WW1 and died on active service in WW2.

Bryant, T.A. corporal, 8 DCLI

Short, M. Lance Corporal, 24 R.F. Royal Fusiliers

Geach W.G., Armourer’s Mate RN

Born 2 July 1894 in Penryn, by 1901 William Geach was living in Market Street Devoran with his mother Mary J. Geach (born Devoran, 1860) and sister Gwendoline M Geach (b. 1899) and Janet Muriel Geach (b. 1900).

By 1911 the family are at Narabo Vale, Narabo Creek and William is a  Blacksmith’s Apprentice. His father was William Geach,  a Devoran born Railway Labourer.

His navy service (no. M6495) began on 1 September 1913 at Devonport, serving on ship or shore bases Vivid II, Drake and Revenge during the war and through to 1927 or beyond one Vancouver to Liverpool shipping record suggests in 1934 that he was staying at “Carclew”, Lansdowne Road, Cardiff.

He married Elizabeth Ferris in Falmouth in 1923 (his sister Janet married a Benjamin C Ferris in 1931, also a naval man).

William Geach the WW1 sailor died in South Glamorgan in Wales in June 1986.

Cook, F. (In faint pencil)   – according to the West Briton list of January 1915, this could be Fred Cooke? 

Williams , F.J. Sapper RE

Bray, E. seaman RN

W. Apps – died 1915. See blogpost

Perkins, S. 8 DCLI

Berryson, W Private 22 Rifle Brigade

White, W. C. Sapper RE this may be H.C.White

Trenoweth, C, Private 5 DCLI Discharged April 9 1917

Separate blogpost forthcoming about Claude Fitzgerald Trenoweth, who served with the 5 DCLI pioneers during the Somme battles.

Trenoweth, P.J. Private 4 DCLI – probably Claude’s brother Percy 

Crocker A.E. Private 10 DCLI  – Albert Crocker died 1918

Johnson J. Private 4 DCLI – James Johnson died 1915

Lewarne J Seaman RNR     James Lewarne 

F.G. Webb, Sapper RE – Frederick Gordon Webb died Somme, 1916

Stephens, R. Seaman RNR died in Haslar naval hospital in 1919 – Richard Stephens buried Feock churchyard

Bilkey, James, Private 4 DCLI discharged March 20 1916

J. H. Bilkey’s brother was R.J. ‘Jack’ Bilkey, died Egypt, 1919 – see his blogpost entry and also forthcoming blogpost about the family history and military service an discharge through pleurisy and heart problems.

Gill, A.J. Sapper Canadian RE

Hamblyn, W, Seaman RN

Hancock F.C. driver RE

Vincent A. (In faint pencil)

Pascoe, W.D. Gunner RFA died 20 April 1915 RIP

Pascoe, M. Gunner RN –

This could well be Llewellyn Maxwell Pascoe, brother of Devoran Casualty W.D. Pascoe who was reported on William’s death to be serving in the Navy. Their sister Netta May Pascoe became an early form of WW1 Land Girl.

Coad, C. Private 4 DCLI – according to the West Briton list of January 1915,  probably Charles Coad 

Watch this space for 1915 and 1916 men

We will post further research  on these 1914 men, along with the men of 1915, 1916 and later over the course of the WW1 anniversary. 

We are also working on researching the names of the 1915 volunteers and then the 1916 conscripts, as we prepare  a selection of  the family and military history stories of ten Devoran survivors and early casualties connected to the Roll of Honour in our illustrated evening talk on the “Names on The Roll” at Devoran Village Hall on 1st July 2016.

Posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorail Project, 21 May 2016



2 thoughts on “Devoran men of 1914 MCMXIV – first volunteers and old sweats

  1. Pingback: James Johnson of Devoran WW1 casualty update | Devoran War Memorial Cornwall

  2. Pingback: Remembering Frederick Webb of Devoran died Somme 18 July 1916 | Devoran War Memorial Cornwall

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s