Category Archives: WW1

Remembering Albert Ernest Crocker Penpol Devoran WW1 2 April 1918

Albert and Harry Crocker WW1

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

Remebering Albert Ernest Crocker of Penpol, who died serving with the 7th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall’s   Light Infantry on 2 April 1918. He has no known grave and his name is listed on the Pozieres Memorial.

Reading the 7th Battalion War Diary for March to April 1918, many men of the 7th Battalion were listed as wounded, killed in action or missing after the March 1918 German Spring Offensive.

Albert was listed in Soldiers Died in The Great War (SDGW) as born at Paul (near Penzance?)  lived St. Feock and Residence at Penpol. He enlisted in Perranwell

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Albert Ernest Crocker’s name appears on the Devoran war memorial, names A to J , First World War

His name appears on the 1914 volunteers on the first draft of the Village Hall Roll of Honour – Crocker A.E. Private 10 DCLI.  He enlisted in  Perranwell.

Albert Crocker’s name appears on the final Village Hall Roll of Honour with the letters RIP alongside his name. A January 1915 newspaper report note said him as enlisted:


Photo by Gerry Costello of the Feock War Memorial

On the Lives of The First World War website, Albert’s name is also shown on the Feock War Memorial as well, in a photograph added by Gerry Costello:

Crocker as a local name appears frequently in Ralph and Marie Bird’s Devoran book. Albert’s father Samuel was listed as a Furnaceman on The 1911 Census, possibly in the smelter or industrial works that once graced Penpol, whilst Albert was listed as a farm labourer.

His brother Harry (R.H. Crocker) also served in WW1 and survived.

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 Paul, 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).

This last post was written  by Bob Richards for reading out during the 1st July 2016 WW1 centenary talk at Devoran Village Hall, whilst Albert’s picture was projected on the wall:


Remembering John Glanville Adams of Devoran died WW1 23 March 1918


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

Private T/243064, John Glanville Adams, 7th Battalion Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, died in action  aged 30 on 23 March 1918.

He is remembered as a name on the wall panels of the Pozieres Memorial on the Somme in France to the missing thousands of the British Fifth Army in 1918, so has no known grave. Many of them were killed during the Kaiser’s Spring Offensive of March and April 1918, which saw thousands of Allied casualties and thousands taken prisoner. John Glanville Adams is likely to have been of these March 1918 casualties.

John Glanville Adams is listed in Soldiers Who Died In The Great War (SDGW) as Residence – Devoran, Cornwall but born in Swansea, Glamorganshire, Wales. He enlisted into the Army at Bodmin, Cornwall in 1916  (most likely the DCLI barracks, now the Regimental Museum). His name appears in the 1916 section of the recently uncovered first draft of the Village / Parish Roll, suggesting that aged 28 in 1916 tha he attested (volunteer enlisted) or was eventually conscripted: Adams, J.G. Private W. Surreys

The 7th Service Battalion Queens Royal West Surreys lost over 50 other men on 23rd March 1918 besides Glanville Adams at what was known as the Battle of Saint Quentin, listed on the Pozieres Memorial  as having no known grave:

Although he died serving with the Queens, SDGW also mentions that he was first enrolled in the Essex Regiment 276911, and listed as killed in action, although later in his Soldiers Effects Listing (gratuitity paid to next of kin mother Emily) his death was “assumed”. Hence his appearance on the Pozieres Memorial to the Missing, rather than having a known grave.


Remembered in his home village on the Centenary of his death.

More about John Glanville Adams and family 

Although John was born in Swansea, Glamorganshire in Wales  in 1888 he appears to have grown up in Devoran. His father George Adams seems to have died when John was very young. Brother Ernest was born in  Devoran c. 1884 before the short lived move to Swansea. Wales is not such an unusual connection – Devoran area mines, docks and railway then had strong  links to the Welsh coalfields, smelting and shipping industry.

By 1891 his mother Emily (born 1852/3, Truro?) was listed as a widower with two young sons John Glanville and Ernest George at Bennett’s Ope on or near Market Street and Greenbank Terrace. Continue reading

Devoran Suffragettes WSPU 1914




Western Morning News May 27, 1914 

Good journalists should  give consideration to both sides  of a question.

Interesting to read the opinions of Edith Williams, Devoran, WSPU (Women’s Social and Political Union)


An opposite view to Edith Williams – Firmness of Plymouth’s letter Western Morning News May 27, 1914



Edith Williams WSPU Devoran letter Western  Morning News,  Monday 1st June 1914


Further letters in the Western Morning News, Monday 1st June 1914

The WSPU and Suffragettes’ cause and campaign for the vote was  suspended during the War.

Tuesday 6 February 2018 is the centenary of women being granted the vote for the first time in Britain.

The Representation of People Act 1918 was an important law because it allowed women to vote for the very first time.

It also allowed all men over the age of 21 to vote too. Many of Devoran’s men serving in the armed forces (recorded on the Roll of Honour in the Village Hall) got to vote for the first time.

This act was the first to include practically all men in the political system and began the inclusion of women, extending the franchise by 5.6 million men and 8.4 million women

The contribution made during World War One by men and women who didn’t have the right to even vote was an important reason for the law changing.

In 1918, the Representation of the People Act was passed on 6 February 1918 and women voted in the general election for the very first time on 14th December 1918 that year.

“Women over 30 years old received the vote if they were either a member or married to a member of the Local Government Register, a property owner, or a graduate voting in a University constituency.”

How exciting for those women of Devoran parish over 30 who did qualify to vote for the first time. I wonder where the election voting was held – presumably the parish rooms or the old school on a Market Street?

In the Equal Franchise Act in 1928, suffrage was extended to all women over the age 21, meaning that women finally had the same voting rights as men.
Up until 1918, women hadn’t been allowed to be MPs in Parliament either. The Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918 gave women over 21 the right to stand for election as a Member of Parliament.

In December 1918, the first woman MP was elected to the House of Commons, Constance Markievicz  but, like other Irish Sinn Fein Republican MPs, did not take up her seat. She would shortly be followed in 1919 by Plymouth MP Nancy Astor.

How excited Edith Williams must have been if she was still in Devoran in December 1918.

Certainly a women to further research. Somewhere  ( somewhere!) I have a pamphlet on Annie Williams and Lettuce Floyd, along with local Suffragettes which may  say more about Edith Williams and the local WSPU set up.

This handy reference book sets out where Edith Williams lived in Devoran, in a house known as Glanafon, Devoran.


From The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928
By Elizabeth Crawford

The same author Elizabeth Crawford mentions Edith Williams in another publication:


The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Britain and Ireland: A Regional Survey
By Elizabeth Crawford. Certainly an interesting book on Regional Suffrage to track down.  

So Glanafon, wherever it was in Devoran, hosted many WSPU speakers from 1910 to 1914.

Writing in the London Standard, December 27, 1911, Edith Williams wrote:


Letter from Edith Williams, London Standard, December 27, 1911 

Blogposted on the centenary anniversary of some women being granted the vote, 6 February 1918 / 2018.

Remembering William John Dunstan Devoran WW1 died accident at sea 24 December 1917

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William Dunstan’s grave in Brest Kerfautras Cemetery, France (Image copyright: TWGPP / CWGC, the War Graves Photographic Project)




William John Dunstan of Devoran, serving as 2352/ST, Engineman, Royal Naval Reserve, HM Trawler Pintail, died aged 45 on 24 December 1917.

He is buried in plot 40.3.5 Brest Kerfautras Cemetery, Finisterre, France (mostly an American naval and army cemetery).

Dunstan 1Brest (Kerfautras) Cemetery

William Dunstan’s grave lies in Brest Kerfautras Cemetery, France (Image copyright: TWGPP / CWGC, the War Graves Photographic Project)

The CWGC website lists him as husband of Juliana Dunstan of 6 Chapel Terrace, Devoran. Juliana was born in 1871 in Truro. The couple married in 1903 and had two children, both born in Devoran, Florence May Dunstan (b. 1905) and William Edwin Kean Dunstan (b. 1907).

William was born in Hayle, Phillick (Phillack?) in Cornwall in 1874. In the 1911 census he is listed as “Fireman Steamship” on board SS Erimus,  living at Chapel Terrace, Devoran.

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

His life and death tell an interesting tale of Devoran past as a port or harbour, then of the war at sea, keeping the sea clear of enemy mines.

The ship where Dunstan served and sustained his fatal accident HMS Pintail was a Hull trawler H982 , built in 1908 and wrecked off Ireland in 1949. In October 1914 she was requisitioned for war service as a minesweeper, armed with 1 x 12 Hotchkiss pdr, 1 x 6pdr HA, Ad.No382 . She was moved to Penzance and Falmouth. (Ad.No.382). By 1st October 1918 she was at Penzance (General Patrol and Escort work).

By 12 March 1919, Pintail had been returned to her owner at Hull. There is more about the naval war and minesweepers off the Cornish coast in Pete London’s short book Cornwall in the First World War (Truran, 2013)

So Pintail survived war service. William Dunstan did not – according to the Royal Navy Roll of Honour WW1, he died of illness in hospital,  as a result of his war service.

Further research in the National Archives into his Royal Naval Reserve service record suggests that he signed up on 15 November 1915. He died as a result of an accident at sea on twenty third December.


Dunstan’s Navy Records state that he “Died Marine Hospital, Brest, France. Death due to accident. Injuries to head from from crank of engine whilst endeavouring to recover oil can from crank bilge. ”

Dunstan died of a fractured skull as a result of “head and chest injuries by crankshaft” received “whilst at sea on 23 December 1917”.

Previous to his service at sea on HM Pintail, he seems to have served from 1915 and 1916 on King Frederick (III) a Hired Trawler. “5.1915: Requisitioned for war service as a minesweeper (1-12pdr) (Ad.No.2659). Renamed KING FREDERICK.” H.M.S. Dreel Castle  appears  to be his “parent ship at Falmouth base” and “parent ship of the patrols working from Falmouth.”

Shore Establishments of the Royal Navy states that “DREEL CASTLE was a Drifter commissioned 2.2.15. Nominal depot ship Auxiliary Patrol Falmouth, Penzance, & Scillies replacing Vivid 1.10.15 – 16.9.19 [accounts to Vivid IV]. Flag of Rear Admiral Falmouth struck 15.8.19.”

Dunstan’s naval records in the National Archives are hard to read and decipher. He appears to have transferred from “King Frederick” to the Royal Naval Hospital Plymouth in November 1917 then back to sea on “Pintail” shortly before his accidental death.

His widow Juliana  chose no additional inscription on his standard headstone.


You can read more about William Dunstan and the other men of Devoran in WW1 here:

William John Dunstan, Remembered a hundred years on  in his home village of Devoran and by his family on Christmas Eve 24 December 2017.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project

I shall add more to Dunstan’s entry should I uncover any more information.

11th Hour 11th Day 11th Month 99 years on 2017


World War 2 section, Devoran War Memorial Photo: 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.

Remembering the men,  women and families of Devoran and surrounding villages affected by both world wars, recorded on the Devoran War Memorial and the Roll of Honour.

Remembered today and tomorrow during the national two minute silence at 11 am ,  during the reading of names at 10.45 a.m. Armistice Sunday 12th November 2017 and throughout the year in their home villages.

I hope to make it down to the memorial on Remembrance Sunday for a few minutes to hear the names read out before the 11am two minutes silence and Last Post.

Since  we developed the Devoran War Memorial Blog and Research project, these names  hopefully mean so much more to many people in the village today, linking past, present and future of Devoran and its surrounding villages.

Possible future plans for the Devoran War Memorial blog project and WW1/ WW2 anniversaries.

Following on from the success of The Names on The Roll talk in July 2016 about Devoran in WW1 1914 to 1916, we hope to complete the story of Devoran in WW1 from 1916  to 1919. This will probably with an another illustrated talk in the Devoran village hall sometime in 1919, potentially  around the 100th anniversary of the war memorial recreation ground in September 1919.

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Dedication stone of the Devoran War memorial ground, 12 September 1919

Bob Richards, Ann Cunningham and I might (if we have the energy!)  complete the trilogy of wartime Devoran talks, as fundraising for Devoran Village Hall,  with a third and final illustrated talk on Devoran in WW2 in 2020, the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2.

For more details, watch this blog space and Devoran village hall social media nearer the time.

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

Blogposted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project, November 2017.

We would love to hear more from you. Contact us through the blog comments section.

Was the Tank in WW1 named after a Devoran engineer Thomas Tank Burall?



An old Devonport acquaintance? Letter by S H Tremayne, Plymouth, Western Morning News September 26th 1918.

Intriguing little snippet of news when researching Devoran War Memorial’s construction date.

November 1917 is an important date in Tank history for the mass use of tanks by British forces at  the Battle of Cambrai (20 November – 7 December 1917).


Did Thomas Tank Burral give his name to this British (Mark V Male) Tank? (Image: Wikipedia)

Did Devoran born Thomas Tank Burrall or Burral give his name to the Tank?


The Strand Magazine article in February 1918 can be found here: .LvJan-jun#page/n197/mode/1up


It features a portrait photograph of Burral, Burral or  Burrall. His surname appears in both spellings.



A portrait of Tank in The Strand,  February.

The February 1918 Strand article referred to in Mr. Tremayne’ newspaper letter was written to challenge the usual story or official story given in the September 1917 issue of The Strand magazine. This was  the original,  officially endorsed article by Colonel Swinton about Tanks, their development, and naming:

The usual story of how the Tank got its  name is given here on Wikipedia, based in part on Swinton’s official article in The Strand, September 1917:

“Although landship was a natural term coming from an Admiralty committee, it was considered too descriptive and could give away British intentions. The committee therefore looked for an appropriate code term for the vehicles. Factory workers assembling the vehicles had been told they were producing “mobile water tanks” for desert warfare in Mesopotamia…

The term tank, as in water tank, was in December 1915 finally accepted as its official designation. From then on, the term “tank” was established among British and also German soldiers …
It is sometimes mistakenly stated that, after completion, the tanks were shipped to France in large wooden crates. For secrecy and in order to not arouse any curiosity, the crates and the tanks themselves were then each labelled with a destination in Russian, “With Care to Petrograd”. In fact the tanks were never shipped in crates: the inscription in Russian was applied on the hull for their transport from the factory to the first training centre at Thetford. (Wikipedia ‘Tank’ entry)

Thetford was the home of agricultural engineers Charles Burrell, another coincidence or link with Thomas Tank Burral?

Thomas Tank Burral was born in Cornwall on  April 16, 1847 and died in Thetford on November 26 1884.

Burral had died of overwork, a heart attack in the office, his death as a promising agricultural engineer was reported in Cornish newspapers.


His Works town of Thetford paid suitable respects to Thomas Tank Burall, who was buried in Wisbech. Despite being a native of Devoran, it appears as if several members of his family worked in or were buried in Thetford by 1884. Two brothers lived nearb. His wife Ellen Burall lived there too but returned to their birthplace in Devoran. His father Thomas Burall  was buried there in Wisbech in 1883 shortly before this.


Burall’s death, Royal Cornwall Gazette, December 12, 1884

The probate for Thomas Tank Burral  “Mechanical Engineer” suggests that Ellen Burral may well have returned home to her Burral or  Williams family in the Devoran area as a widow.



Thomas Tank Burall’s family links to Devoran

Thomas Tank Burall and his wife Ellen Williams were both born in Devoran in 1847/8. They married in Feock Parish Church (Devoran Church was not yet built) in January 29 1870.


Thomas’ father Thomas Burall (born Illogan, 1812) was at first a Blacksmith / Smith (1841) then a boilermaker (1851 / 1861 Census), employing ten  men by 1851 in one of the many engineering related jobs in a county full of mines and steam engines. In 1871 he was living in Laurel Cottage, Devoran (near Lower Devoran, Carnon Gate and Toll Gate House).  In 1881 he was still listed as a working Engineer

His wife Ellen’s  father Jeremiah Williams was a Grocer.

The Tank part of his name comes through his mother’s side, his mother being one Catherine Tank, born Illogan around 1813. Several of his brothers bore the  middle name of Tank, including

Joseph Tank Burral (b. 1849, Devoran / Feock) also worked as a Boilermaker and died in Pennsylvania, America in 1935)

The press articles mentioned his two brothers living nearby who were summoned and arrived rapidly on hearing of Tank’s death. These were William and Henry.

William Tank Burral (b. 1852, Devoran / Feock)  moved to Wisbech and ran a business with his brother Henry Charles Burral as a Patent Label Manufacturer. William lived with his brother Henry.

Henry Charles Burral (born 1855, Feock / Devoran) was originally a Draper, lived also in Queens Road, Wisbech in a house called Tregullow, very Cornish!

Henry had two children by his first wife, Catherine Grace Burall (b. 1891 who became a Cashier) and William H. Burall born 1893. This generation of Burall children or boys would have served in the First World War. Henry Charles was a widower by 1901 but remarried around 1902 to a woman named Maud and had a further child,  Kathleen Maud Burall in 1903.

Thomas Tank Burral had two sisters Catherine Grace Burral (b. 1847, Perranarworthal) and Elizabeth or Eliza A Burall (born 1846, Perranarworthal, later a Draper’s Assistant).


Thomas and Ellen  1881 Census entry

In the 1881 census Thomas Tank Burral and Ellen were living in Thetford, Thomas being the Manager of an Engineering Works (which must be Burrell the Steam Tractor works). His period at HM Dockyard  Devonport as an engineer Draughtsman seems to link his mechanical engineering to marine engineering.  A marine engineer with an interest in steering, and an agaricultural mechanical engineer with an interest in getting vehicles across rough terrain came together in this clever man.

Many different forebears from caterpillar tracks, steam traction engines and artillery tractors seem to have come together in the invention of the Tank in Britain during WW1. It would be good to think Thomas Tank Burall’s character, hard work and engineering skills at Burrell’s of Thetford in the 1880s brought him the respect of his workforce and led to his name ‘Tank’ being applied to the ridged or “pattened”  wheels or ‘Tanks’ he developed and ultimately to the  cross country vehicles that may have given his name  thirty  years later to  the Tank in WW1.


Cambrai 100

The tank centenary is interestingly marked by an extensive and interesting blog from Bovington Tank Museum    http://

It will be interesting to see what Bovington have to say about this strange Devoran linked story of Thomas Tank Burall.

In 1919, Thomas’ Tank, Williams and Burral relatives in the Devoran, Feock and Falmouth may well have seen a WW1 Tank in display in Falmouth

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project blog, November 2017.



The Botanical Bishop plants the Lobb Garden, October 2nd 1942


In 2017 A newer Lobb Brothers memorial garden has been planted down Market Street in Devoran opposite the offices of the Parish Council and supported by Devoran Gardening Club.

75 years ago on October 2nd 1942 an original flowerbed or shrubbery garden was dedicated by the Botanical Bishop Joseph Hunkin outside the Parish Church near the Devoran War Memorial and the headstone for local planthunter and Devoran resident Thomas Lobb.

A curiously peaceful  activity during wartime, maybe a morale booster by the Botanical Bishop Hunkin.

Thomas Lobb (1817–1894) was a British botanist and, along with his older brother, William Lobb, collected plants for the plant nursery Veitch.


Joseph Wellington Hunkin OBE MC (25 September 1887 – 28 October 1950) was the eighth Bishop of Truro from 1935 to 1950.

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Joseph Hunkin (or ‘Hunks’ as he was known to serving troops) was then a Military Chaplain in the British Armed Forces during World War I.

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A keen gardener, Hunkin  was commemorated by a garden in the cathedral close and a shrub was donated to every parish.

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Joseph Hunkin’s Preface to one of his final / posthumous publications in 1950

We will feature a little more in a future blog from Joseph Hunkin’ small ‘Trees and Shrubs in Cornwall’ pamphlet for the CPRE.


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There is more about the Botanical Bishop, who was also a WW1 Military Chaplain, holder of the MC (Military Cross)  in the Cornwall Home Guard  during WW2 (probably the Truro Battalion?) in his biography Botanical Bishop

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Introduction mentioning the Lobb brothers in Hunkin’s Trees and Shrubs for Cornwall 



Four Lobb introductions are mentioned and planted by Hunkin

The four Lobb trees and shrubs in Devoran Churchyard are mentioned in Hunkin’s book:

escallonia macrantha


Bereberis darwinii – a good Lobb plant link with explorer  Charles Darwin who ended his round the world journey on HMS Beagle in Falmouth (today!) on 2nd October 1836.  This event is marked by a plaque in Falmouth erected as part of the Darwin bicentenary that I worked on in 2009.


and a Lobb plant named after the directors of Kew Garden , William Hooker and son (Darwin’s friend) Joseph Hooker who sent many plant introductions to gardens in Cornwall.



Posted by Mark Norris, October 2nd 2017 / 1942 75 years on